Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Del Teague Eyes Tea with the Queen

I've been holding onto this video for a while, but Domino is over and the budget has been passed.... it's time. No words... no words to describe this. Community Board 1 member Del Teague everyone!

Community Board 1 Announcement of the Week


This comes courtesy of Julie Lawrence aka J-Law who is looking to unload her cat food. Below is the message from the J-Law posted to the CB-1 Listserv today:

Hello,

I have about 3 pounds of Royal Canin specialized diet dry cat food to give away to anyone who can use it. We switched food and no longer need this. Check with your Vet if you have questions about whether it's appropriate for your cat. You'd have to come pick it up on the Northside.

Here's a link to the product's website:
http://products. royalcanin. us/products/ veterinary/ feline/urinary- so.aspx

If interested, contact me off-list.

Thanks,
Julie


Julie, do you have Steve Levin's number?

Hope Fight!


I don't have a video of Hope training, so this is pretty much the next best thing.

Check out Tom Tracy's knockout preview of District Leader candidate Hope Reichbach's fundraiser tonight at Gleason's Gym. Yes, I'm going. Among the tasty nuggets that Tom lifted from his interview include Hope's "fairly heavy fists" and how she "throws them from every angle," her fighting style which is to go right at an opponent as opposed to "dancing around the ring" and her unfortunately mislabeled nickname, "Moose." As in:

“I don’t think she’s knocked anyone out, but she’s a brawler at heart,” Lawrence [her trainer] said. “I wouldn’t want to turn on her dark side. You don’t want to see the Moose rise up.”

Apparently District Leader Jo Anne Simon, her political opponent, wouldn't comment for the story, preferring to engage in... um... more old fashioned pursuits.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whoa Domino!


CPCR's Susan Pollock and Michael Lappin are singing this song RIGHT NOW at Winnie's in Chinatown.

The deal got done at about 10 pm last night, when Levin agreed to the developer's concessions to reduce tower heights from 40 stories to 34. Read more about it here.

P.S. After getting the tower a little bit shorter, Steve Levin has reserved the karaoke machine after Susan and Michael are done... to sing this song:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Domino is still Alive

http://www.zurb.com/word_uploads/0000/0031/its-alive.jpg
"All right, you win. You win. I give. I'll say it. I'll say it. I'll say it. DENSITY! DENSITY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME! DENSITY! DENSITY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME!"

Domino is down to the wire, as Levin is quarterbacking the negotiations yet again for a major rezoning project in his district. Both sides are tight-lipped, and while there is a lot of frustration it sounds like there's a good chance a deal could happen today.

Evening update: The committee vote is scheduled for 11:30 am tomorrow (the full council will vote in July). They're plowing ahead.

Update Number Two: Steve Levin's Brazil Name is "Stevildo," Susan Pollock's Brazil Name is"Susinhosa," and New Domino's Brazil Name is "Dominaldo."

Brazil names!

We're taking a break in the Domino-slash-Loft Law amendments-slash-city and state budget negotiation action to figure out our Brazil Names!

Check out the website, which lets you input your first and last name and get your Brazilian football name. Mine is Aarildo, which is boring. Let's try some others.

Letitia James is Jamundo, which is cool. Mayor Michael Bloomberg is Bloombio, which is very cool. And Brad Lander?... Landildo.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Short List: Northside Festival Addition


I don't have much to add at the moment on the festival, other than I hope that it proceeds a bit smoother than last night's episode outside Shea Stadium. When the real Shea Stadium produces fewer arrests than a music venue named after the Mets' former home, you have a problem. Good luck L-Magazine!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This is for you Cook

We need to interrupt the Loft Law/ Domino blowout coverage with a song for Cook. This one goes out to you...


Encore! Let's give Cook another one.

NAG Ladies take over the Brooklyn Greenway


The planning beauties of NAG were recognized for their hard work during Wednesday night's Brooklyn Greenway Initiative fundraiser on the Northside Piers (sadly I was working late and I missed the whole thing).
The pier looks wonderful and everyone was excited to celebrate the future greenway by heading to the riverbank.

Try not to look too excited Ward
Rumors that Parks Department celebrity Eric Peterson would show up were confirmed, as this revealing photo shows his presence in deep conversation with former NAG Chair Susan Albrecht.
What those two were talking about? Sources say it was who the Knicks should pick in the NBA draft. Peterson is partial to DeMarcus Cousins while Susan called that pick "faulty" because there's no freaking way that Cousins would be available in the second round.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Le Domino Noir (Act II)


Open Process! Open Process! Open Process!... oh wait, we're for this project, aren't we?
10:45 am: The opposing rally breaks up and we head in to Press Row join the hearing which is already in progress. CPCR's Susan Pollock in the middle of a presentation that I’ve heard at least six times already. She’s going over the affordable housing AMI plans, open space, and the office towers. The Domino model is back (Michael Lappin is sitting next to it, and he keeps eyeing it suggestively.). I take a seat next to the Brooklyn Star's Daniel Bush and the Daily News' Erin Durkin. We leave a seat open for the Greenpoint Gazette's Juliet Linderman, who left her press pass at home and glumly retreats to the balcony to sit next to Lentol spokeswoman Amy Cleary.

On the ground 150 South Siders in Domi Yes t-shirts. The only two people without them? El Puente’s Luis Garden Acosta who is rocking his red power tie but is strangely hatless. And Father John Powis who is also wearing a dark suit. In the balcony, mostly Domi-No demonstrators. Rob Solano is in the far right balcony edge, but he gets up and leaves, and is replaced by Ward Dennis. Also up top is Andy Marte and new CB1 member Maria Viera.

Rafael Vinoly architect of the project takes the mic from Susan:

"The intent from the very beginning is to create a mixed-use community, with the introduction of affordable housing. It’s not a separate type of architecture but created in the same system. We’re proud of the fact that this is a breakthrough."

10:52 am; Is that Warren Cohn? What is Warren doing here! Did he get off on the wrong 4-train stop? Warren finds Steve Levin and Steve agrees to give him a quick tour of City Hall while the landscape architect discusses the four acres of open space that Domino will provide.

Meanwhile, Vito hovers in the back of the room before taking a seat in the back row as Debbie Feinberg and other Lopez staff join him joins him. Steve stands in the back to make sure his staff has a set in the back row.

11 am: Time for questions. Mark Weprin, the zoning subcommittee chairman:

"This is the nuts and bolts for why we’re here today. There’ s a lot of yes, a lot of no, a lot of maybe. Please bear with us, I know it’s not comfortable. Please I’d like to note that there not be any outburts, boos, hisses, applause or karaoke requests."

Mark turns it over to Steve Levin for questions. This is why Press Row is here. I made that last one up. Steve begins his questioning.

Steve Levin: While I commend CPCR for its commitment to affordable housing and community facility space. I believe the project as it is posed today simply bears too much of a burden on our neighborhood’s infrastructure. This development must be seen in context with the 2005 GW rezoning, which must be seen in several ways. There is a cumulative effect on this neighborhood development. The total number of units should not exceed 1600 and that 40 percent of those units remain affordable.

The development site is half a mile to the nearest subway line and close to the Bedford Avenue L stop. It was jam packed at the Bedford Ave L stop. There are 1900 riders a day, fourth busiest station in Brooklyn and the busiest stop in the borough.

CPCR has offered community affordable housing, all affordable units must remain that way for perpetuity. All community space must be locked into community use and not be used for residential or commercial use.

Levin asks Susan a broad question about density/ FAR and why it is there. This is going to be fun.

Susan answers by stating the square footage of the community, commercial and retail.

"This project is very different from other projects on the waterfront.
Our site is a long site, no other site has the proportional area that this site has. The community facility space is not revenue producing. The income levels in this area are lower than other areas in the city, you have to provide additional cross subsidy through the market rate units.

Steve: We are here to look specifically at the zoning of this application and not look into other aspects of the project. Why should CPCR proceed if it does not fit in line with other projects along the waterfront?

Susan: This site is a unique site. City Planning has to address this on its own proposition. TI doesn’t bear any resemblance to Greenpoint and Williamsburg. It far exceeds what has been presented along the waterfront. From a land use perspective, what we’re providing…

11:15 am: Here it is! Rob Solano sends a text that "Father Rick Beuther has 20 people outside and he wants a photo-op", but there’s no way anyone is leaving Press Row. Levin continues.

Levin: The community board voted no with recommendations. It’s the folks who live there who receive its impact.

Susan: I believe the community board has voted no on every board that has come before it.

Levin: The community board’s vote would still be a no if the modifications were followed. I’d like to pivot a bit to the effect on the neighborhood.
The adjacent street Kent Avenue, and Wythe Avenue, Berry and Bedford. If you walk around on any of these streets. What would be the impact on traffic?

11:22 AM: A woman from ARKF, who did the Environmental Impact Study, takes over. Dan Bush shows me a text he just received on his phone from the United States Tennis Association:

USTA PR Guy: "Your request for press credentials for the 2010 US Open in Corona Park Queens has been approved."

This concludes possibly the only time that I may be jealous of a Queens publication. Lets rejoin the action.

AKRF Lady: “When we did the impact statement for the development we did disclose the effects that would occur.” She continues to explain there would be few mitigating effects from the added population on the neighborhood’s infrastructure.

Levin: I have to disagree with that

AKRF lady: "Well then we’ll just agree to disagre..."

Levin, with the best exchange of the day:
Levin: “How long does it take to walk from the Domino sugar site to those subway stations.”

“What I’ve done myself…”

“If it’s say raining or snowing, and you have to get to work, and some folks cant walk… my question… this is what City Planning is all about. Have you engaged with the city, with the state, with the MTA…. I know people who take the train back from Canarsie just to get a seat. The L train is the most likely train to least get a seat on... what measures is CPCR taking with the MTA, City Transit, what discussion have you taken. Because it is only going to get worse.”

11:22 am: Press Row starts grumbling. I may have clipped a few of Steve’s words above, but his questions are starting to meander.

Susan: “The only mitigation is congestion is the Marcy line on the JMZ and we believe that transit will work. The J line is underserved not overserved and there is capacity on every station. Certainly the L train is [overserved]. The MTA has a history of adding more lines to the L train. There is capacity on the L line to absorb additional trains.

Steve continues his line about community facility space and the threat of secondary and primary displacement. Susan shoots down the suggestion.

Susan: it is a social condition that occurs in an area. It’s not the result of one project. Whatever the causes of secondary displacement have already occurred in this community. Most of the people who support this project have already felt the threat of displacement.

Steve: I want to talk about open space. The project has been lauded for its open space. In reality it would result in the decrease of open space ratios per capita. Does CPCR admit that there is a decrease?

Susan: We are providing four acres of open space. If we had been required to meet the rezoning agreement’s percentage, open space would have dropped far further. What I do know about our open space is that it is there and it will be there forever. It is space that the community can use and it connects to Grand Ferry Park.

11:41 am Mark tells Steve to Wrap it Up and Steve mentions that he has been lampooned in the Daily News and wants to clarify that CPCR is a for-profit subsidiary of a nonprofit organization and is the developer of the project. Susan acknowledges this.

Steve: The characterization in the press that this project is being developed by a nonprofit is both specious and wrong.

Susan: I can’t speak to what the press writes...

Steve: As a representative of the area, people have concerns about the height, the density, the transportation negative impacts, open space negative impacts that this project will have. This is a refrain that I hear from everyone, even if they support this project. It is my hope that CPCR will in the coming days significantly address these concerns, because that is a voice I am hearing.

11:42 AM Reyna takes over and Susan Pollock.

Diana: I look forward to working with my colleague (Steve? Is she talking about Steve?) about transportation and open space concerns. It is valuable to have ongoing dialogues, not just during a rezoning, with the MTA and the Parks Department.

Diana pivots to Susan Pollock. Lots of pivoting today. I feel like I'm watching a figure skating tournament.

"The matter as far as the Domino Sugar and issues of transportation, you’ve said that you will have ongoing negotiations with city agencies and New York City Transit…"

Diana asks whether the plan will effect the preservation neighborhoods negatively or positively. Her questions are starting to meander as well. She’s trying to do a lot to focus on the neighborhood’s decline of Latino population and whether the project could bring back displaced residents to her neighborhood.

Susan explains that fifty percent of the affordable housing is reserved for applicants from Community Board 1 and the rest is an open lottery. Diana presses on about the opportunities that immigrant families don’t have just before Steve leaves the chamber to grab a coffee.

Unless I missed a presentation from the beginning, CPCR President Michael Lappin hasn’t said anything. He’s like the Derek Fisher to Susan Pollock’s Kobe Bryant.

Diana asks about the possibility of a school on the project, which was not part of the original project. The school for hotel swap, which was mentioned in City Planning’s final environmental impact statement is a small part of the debate, though it appears that Diana wants to see both in the project. Diana also raises an issue of illegal hotels in her district.

Diana: I want to express for the record what is now a crisis, discussing further the potential use of commercial space.

Pollock says that if the market holds up, she would consider putting a hotel into the project.

Diana: Landlords are conspiring for illegal hotel use, further exacerbating housing in my district.
I want to thank CPC for its tremendous amount of community outreach. I believe that this project will meet the needs of our community as long as it is built properly.

12:00 PM Councilmember Lappin, no relation to Michael Lappin has a few words.

‘I get asked all the time,” said Lappin. “I wanted to speak to the preservation aspect of this project. I think we should preserve this site as best we can. I very much like the look o if it, it recaptures the look of the factory. I want to talk about the sign. I love that sign. When you think about the Domino project, you think about that sign. My only question is about the park space. Who will maintain it? Will there be a fund to maintain it?"

Susan answers that it will be maintained by a special fund operated by the Open Space Alliance from the market rate owners on that site, collected from the common charges from the site. Interesting. Many OSA members (I’m thinking Adam Perlmutter and other board members) have been opposed to the site because of its density, but

LeRoy Comrie asks about shadows on surrounding streets. The AKRF rep says that shadows won’t reach Kent Avenue until late afternoon and notes that the towers closest to Grand Ferry Park will have fewer shadows due since they have been reduced.

LeRoy, who lives in St. Albans Queens, calls the Kent Avenue bike lane “ridiculous” and asks about transportation effects on Kent and urges them to reconsider that. Susan says that’s not going to happen. LeRoy then asks about the upland site.

12:31 PM: Let’s end this with Vito on the stand, I missed the beginning of Vito’s testimony. Vito is on a roll, Steve Levin is smiling and Diana Reyna is deeply engrossed in her blackberry.

Vito: CPC is a for profit developer, CPCR has more lobbyists in this room than there are residents in this room. If I had the authority, I would kill this whole project and build 2000 units of affordable housing. The question before your committee is to move on this project responsibly, not to meet the agenda of a developer who wants t make an enormous project.

Williamsburg is at a turning point. Without major changes, you will create a gold coast. I know there’s been talk of a ferry. It doesn’t work, there’s no ferry for three months. Other projects have mandated that transportation should be provided. The B39 bus, we don’t know what’s going to happen to, the M train…

We’re going to add 7,000 people and they’re not going to fly you to Manhattan. They're going to use the subway. 15 minute walk? It takes half an hour in the snow and rain. If you’re elderly you’re not going ot get there. The bottom line is that it’s too big, and it has to be brought down.”

I fought hard in Albany. Something has to give. This developer, cannot function on profit margin. They need to bring it down, increase the affordability. Maybe we can bring it from 660 to 800 and even 1,000 units of affordable housing, We need to stay there. We’re selling thousands of luxury houses to residents who are not going to get it.

Talk to your social services person, Williamsburg and Bushwick has the fastest population going into the shelters. They can’t afford it. It’s the ramification sof gentrification. You are going to destroy this community. I pray that as councilmember’s, you would not want massive luxury development in this district. This group has not yet compromised, not an inch.

Steve asks Vito what heights he would like to see on this development. I don’t hear Vito say 30 stories, which is what Debbie Feinberg told me he would like to see the tower heights capped at. Instead, Vito finishes his speech regarding his legacy to preserve and create affordable housing and urges councilmember’s to hear his concerns.

Vito: We have to fight for the working person, fight for the people who have gave up a day who dream for an apartment, not the people who can buy an apartment, pay $6000 rent, We don’t need to help those people. They can help themselves.

Mark thanks Vito, reminds him to drive carefully on his way up to Albany. Vito mumbles something about bringing money down to the city and Mark thanks him for doing that “as soon as he can.”

The hearing continues until after 4 pm, but it's time to head out. With that, Act II is complete. Check back next week for the conclusion of Le Domino Noir

Le Domino Noir (Act I)


Steve Levin prepares to rally the troops XXin favor of the Broadway TriangleXX, in opposition to New Domino.

First off, apologies for the back-dated running diary post for the Domino Sugar subcommittee hearing. Blame the midnight passage of the Loft Law on Monday. Let's just say that General Stanley McChrystal and EWVIDCO's Leah Archibald may have been the two unhappiest people in the city papers on Tuesday. But enough inside chatter. Let's take a listen at the political posturing behind Domino at City Hall, in all its saccharine-y glory:

9:45 AM: This is it. The New Domino Zoning Subcommittee Hearing! The last opportunity for the public to share its thoughts on the hulking $1.2 billion plan to redevelop the former Domino Sugar factory. The developers, Community Preservation Corporation Resources and The Kattan Group, have not budged from their plan, which includes 2,200 to 2,400 units of housing (30 percent of which are below-market rate) and towers up to 40 stories high, on 11.2 acres of the south side waterfront. Councilman Steve Levin (and his mentor, Assemblyman Vito Lopez) have been begging for concessions such as fewer units and shorter tower heights, for months, but Michael Lappin and Susan "The Dominotrix" Pollock are sticking to their guns behind heavy support from Mayor Bloomberg.

A pro-Domino rally that was supposed to start at 9:30 AM is now running perilously behind as the principal speakers (Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna) are late. About sixty Williamsburg and East Brooklyn residents wearing softball-yellow Domi-Yes! t-shirts are milling about on the left side of the steps of City Hall as Domino lobbyists hand out large green and white "Jobs!" and "Open Space" signs. A crowd of reporters, including NY1's Grace Rauth, NYTimes' Charles Bagli, NYObserver's Eliot Brown, Brooklyn Star's Daniel Bush, Greenpoint Gazette's Juliet Linderman, and Crain's Amanda Fung (though I don't know this for certain) are straggling around, waiting for the rally to start.

Richard Edmonds and Rebecca Regal, the spokespeople for the project's developers, are anxiously leaning against the flagpole. Apparently Vito reserved the steps at 10 am for an anti-rally (or maybe it's called a pro-anti-rally) and they are worried they are going to get kicked off. One of the buses carrying another thirty pro-Domino ralliers is stuck in traffic and The Dominotrix is running late too.

On the other side of the steps, staffers for Councilman Steve Levin and Assemblyman Vito Lopez chatter on their cell phones, eagerly awaiting to shift the anti-Domino ralliers to their prime press spot. I run into Lopez super-intern Andy Marte who didn't like that I called him a "rookie" which he still technically is and he didn't like my OFA-Bushwick politics link either. Duly noted. Andy Marte is the Hanley Ramirez of Brooklyn politics, circa 2004.
"I've been in politics since I was 13!" said Marte. "I started when Steve Levin started [at RBSCC]."

Just before we begin, design writer Stephen Zachs introduces himself and asks me if I have seen his facebook campaign to bring a university to the Domino site. I was aware of the idea, which Samuel Farr raised at a Domino town hall sponsored by Levin's office, but Zachs has a letter detailing more. Arch Paper's Matt Chaban, who is not at the rally, wrote a piece about it in The Architect's Newspaper, which is worth checking out just to see what Zachs is proposing.

9:55 AM Diana and Nydia finally arrive and the first rally begins. Pollock arrives shortly after As they begin speaking, Vito Lopez, Joe Lentol, and Lentol spokeswoman Amy Cleary move through security.
Diana: "This is a visual for what our community has worked for so many years, now we look forward to preserving out history and culture in Williamsburg. The continued development here is creating a culture of tension and displacement.

Nydia: While I remain troubled by the city's limited zoning policy and failure to develop a comprehensive transportation study, CPC is making an effort to expand affordable housing. It is time for the community to stand up and fight for what's fair.

Diana reads some statistics showing how the Latino population in Williamsburg has declined from 60,000 to 38,000 between 2000 and 2008,
"We are having families being replaced by single households. You tell me whether communities are being preserved in CB1.

10:01 am: ...and time is up! Diana cuts her own speech short and about 100 Domi-Yeasayers file into City Hall for the beginning of the hearing. Meanwhile Rauth corners Vito who is patiently waiting on the steps with is staff and begins asking questions. Vito just can't help himself. He starts his own impromptu press conference before the anti-Domino rally. Meanwhile, the other reporters quickly file around him to hear his arguments against the plan.

Vito: "I'm not in favor of 660 units, I'm in favor of 800 units, of 1,000 units [of affordable housing]... They need a bus shuttle from 6 am to 10 am from the site to Union Square in Manhattan every day. They're going to bring 6,000 people to the neighborhood and there's no way to get them to the city.... I want free or equivalent shuttles from the development from 6 am to 10 am that would provide relief for the trains."
"I think the highest the towers should be are 28 stories. Two are 40 stories. We're getting a Gold Coast in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Those are the hottest neighborhoods in the city.
[CPCR] has not been willing to negotiate at all and they're going to pay their way there."
Vito mentions CPCR's million dollar lobbying budget and their allocations which helped organizers bring supporters to the rally, even paying for the t-shirts and the colorful signs, while the opponents don't have any t-shirts and made homemade signs.

While Vito is speaking, Councilman Al Vann enters, wearing matching key lime-green slacks and a short-sleeve shirt, with a straw hat. On anyone else, it would look like OR scrubs. A Short Story nods in appreciation. The nod is reciprocated.

Meanwhile, Assemblyman Joe Lentol is standing about two steps above him, politely refraining from interjecting his comments.
Lentol has been opposed to the project longer than any other elected at the rallyAt this point, Vito is John Holmes in a late 70s snuff film and Joe Lentol is one of the other actors hanging out with the crew, saying "Look, I'm not going to compete with that." (and yes, that's a Sports Guy reference. Look it up.)



10:10 am: Steve Levin begins the press conference and the rally with some good ole' fashioned call and repeat cheering.
Steve and the crowd alternating: AFFORDABLE HOUSING! YES! 40 STORIES! NO!
AFFORDABLE HOUSING! YES! 40 STORIES! NO!

Steve: I'm very proud to be here. We have had it with overdevelopment in the neighborhood. Megadevelopments in Greenpoint, in the northside, on the southside, in South Williamsburg, yeeeeahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!.... (note: yeeeeahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! added for effect. Steve did not actually say yeeeeahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!)
This is all about neighborhoods. We're here for both. This is our neighborhood!"

Steve hands the mic over to Andy Marte who handles emcee duties. He gives it to new CB1 member (and RBSCC staffer in charge of Medicaid disbursements) Maria Viera for her comments, as she lives on Kent Avenue and would be personally affected by the congestion. Joe Lentol says a few words, before heading back to Albany, and CB1's brand new Land Use Chairwoman Heather Roslund adds her thoughts about how the board's input regarding special permits for that upland site has basically been ignored. Marte finally turns the mic back to Vito, who adds more thoughts.

Vito: Nobody was paid to be here. The Kattan Group has spent $400 million. They have not compromised. We have met with them 15 times. They are arrogant! They don't want to deal with the community.
Right now, other developments [on the waterfront] have tower heights of 24, 30 stories, and they want to go to 40. Why? Profit! That's where all the money is.
As we zone this, there's a possibility they are going to build to those heights.
This is a farce!

And with that, the overture for Le Domino Noir is over. Inside we go!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Loft Law fall out


Make no mistake, the Loft Law's passage has the potential to be the biggest thing to hit Williamsbrg, Greenpoint and Bushwick since the 2005 waterfront rezoning.

There's going to be a lot of shake out as tenant advocates, artists, industrial businesses, immigration groups, and political observers break down the consequences of the Loft Law's passage. Here's an early response from Housing Here and Now's Michael McKee, which was forwarded from Vito's office. I'll have an industry response shortly:

Thanks to everyone who called, faxed or emailed Governor David Paterson, who last night signed the Loft Law extender/expander. The bill is now Chapter 135 of the Laws of 2010.
There is a three-way agreement that the Legislature will pass a chapter amendment in the next few days. This was a deal made shortly before midnight after hours of negotiations with the Bloombucks administration, which at the last minute had asked the Governor to veto the bill.

While not all details of the chapter amendment are known yet (more detail later), the Legislature agreed to raise coverage from buildings with two illegal residential units to three units. They also agreed to make Quick Draw, the video lottery game renewal of which has been linked with Loft Law extenders since the Pataki administration, permanent.

Chapter 135 makes the Loft Law permanent – without a “sunset” clause – thus freeing loft tenants of the uncertainty of sweating out whether the law will be extended for another period of time. The other major change in Chapter 135 is to expand coverage to newer buildings. Under the original Loft Law, only tenants who have been in occupancy since 1981 (a year before enactment of the law)were protected.

The new law will bring rent and eviction protections to tenants who can prove residential occupancy for 12 months or more in 2008 and 2009. Without this change, these tenants would have continued to be subject to arbitrary eviction and arbitrary rent gouging.

These buildings now must go through a process of legalization, bringing them up to fire and safety code standards. Upon completion of this work the apartments will become subject to rent stabilization.

Thanks go to Assembly Housing Chair Vito Lopez and Senator Martin Dilan for their efforts to enact this new law.

And congratulations to Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants (now a city-wide organization despite its name) for a terrific job of navigating the murky waters of Planet Albany, and to the newly protected tenants who mounted a successful lobbying campaign.

Drama in Albany (Vito vs. Bloomberg)

Liz Benjamin's Capitol Tonight picked this conversation up in the halls of the State Capitol last night, just before the Loft Law passed. Guess who's in it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pour Some Sugar on Me... in the name of redevelopment


It's supposed to be 94 degrees today, but only Susan Pollock and Michael Lappin knows how hot it will be at the witness stand in City Council chambers. What's the temperature that sugar melts?
This morning, City Council finally takes up the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar refinery during a zoning hearing. The dueling press rallies on the steps of City Hall are a nice frame for the debate, but the key aspect to watch is Steve Levin's line of questioning for Susan Pollock and whether other councilmembers give any hints to their position during the hearing.
So many other questions to ask. Will Vito Lopez, who is expected to testify, steal Steve's thunder and will Steve let him? Will Rob Solano text me in the middle of Steve Levin's Q and A with a ridiculous PR request? Will Ward Dennis wet himself?
I, personally can't wait until Johnny Depp weighs in on this. He's on after Vito.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Short List: Mermaid Edition


Even Elvis may make his final appearance at Saturday's Mermaid parade.

It's a jam packed weekend. No two ways about this. From the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island to the opening of the summer concert series at East River State Park. There's no way to make everything and I'm not going to even try. Still, there's a lot to check in on, so here's a quick list of highlights if you want to find something else to do now that the NBA finals are over.

*Crest Fest! at the Metropolitan Avenue hardware institution at noon until whenever the 9-0 shuts the place down.
*Fishy hipsters swarm Surf Avenue for six hours giving die hipster enough to write about for the next two weeks. 2 PM
*Amanda Browder's fabric art sculpture unveiling is finally complete. Saturday 3 pm 1066 Manhattan Ave
*District Attorney Hynes and a group of reformed felons will be cleaning up garbage at 2pm on N. 15th Street. Come help them!
*El Puente springtime showcase. Come see the future Latino stars of Broadway today! 2-4 pm Saturday at S.4th and Roebling.
*Moviehouse's Chris Henderson is having a party/ barbecue at 2 pm somewhere on Jefferson Street. Just look for the police.
*Jason Andrew is organizing a Dance Performance Series on a rooftop in Bushwick, this Saturday, June 19 @ 7:30PM. I think it's at 330 Meserole Street.
*The Brooklyn Salsa Company is celebrating its launch with a party at 929 Broadway at 8 pm. This stuff's made in New York City. NEW YORK CITY!
*Linderman is getting brunch with the rents at Enids 12 pm Sunday. Better push that to 1.
*Band of Horses and Grizzly Bear, featuring Senator Chuck Schumer open the East River concert series. This is a paid, not free, event. So expect lots of hangers on along the edges of the waterfront. Did I mention that the Northside Pier is open?

An octopus puppet is taken out of the Mermaid Parade because it is covered in BP oil.

Steve Levin publicly in his bathing suit... shirt off

Hope put it out there.

Marty Markowitz and Steve Levin. Sunday. Gowanus. The Double D Pool event. They're going to try to save the pool. Rumor has it that Steve will be making an appearance in his swimming trunks. Note, the Rabbi is not actually going to be there.

Will we see the photo op that awkward young female Brooklyn activists are waiting for?

The OFA and Brooklyn Politics

http://obama.3cdn.net/b28e754d15c343e10a_zsyjmv5f6.jpg
Let's not get carried away here. Last night's Bushwick United Democratic Club meeting (at Vito Lopez's Bushwick clubhouse) was a big step forward for the Brooklyn Young Democrats which has been trying to get chartered for the past couple of years after dwindling membership. Lopez's involvement bringing Obama For America New York director Melissa DeRosa to Bushwick for a meet-and-greet is less a tie-in between Kings County and OFA and more of a boost for a fledgling young democrats organization that is trying to get off the ground by working within the County's structure.

OFA is willing to meet with pretty much anybody. They've even been to Bushwick before, as Councilwoman Diana Reyna invited them to talk about organizing for health care reform before the bill eventually passed Congress.

The story here regarding The Bushwick United Democratic Club is more about political rookie Andy Marte's emergence as a neighborhood leader. The Georgetown senior and Lopez favorite is back in Williamsburg this summer working to bulk up his organizing and policy skills and he's probably going to be given some added responsibilities in Lopez's office.

The other interesting story is that Lopez is trying to develop the Brooklyn Young Democrats as a counterweight to the New Kings Democrats, though its unclear whether the New York State Young Democrats of America would prefer some degree of autonomy in Kings County (I'm not betting on it as many vocal YDA leaders have state assembly races of their own to worry about in Queens).

Ultimately, I don't see OFA playing a big role in Kings County elections this summer (read: District Leader and County Committee) particularly since New Kings Democrats actually started out of Matt Cowherd, Rachel Lauter and Lincoln Restler's efforts to get Obama elected in Brooklyn while the County organization was solidly pro-Hillary Clinton. Andy (or anyone else), want to write in and tell me why I might be wrong?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sugar Fight!

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We have dueling press releases regarding the Domino Sugar rezoning fight. Churches United's Rob Solano has proclaimed today Domino Awareness Day in case you're not aware that the South Williamsburg waterfront is probably going to turn into 2,400 units of housing. Here's the jump:

June 17, 2010 at 4pm Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH) will have a press conference before they embarked in their unique endeavor they call "The New Domino Awareness Day" at CUFFH's main office located at 66 Whipple Street , Brooklyn, NY 11206.
Immediately following the press conference the organization will be at every single stop in North Brooklyn handing out a one page information sheet about the New Domino.

On Monday, the anti-Domino demonstrators will have their say, organizing a protest on the steps of City Hall led by Councilman Steve Levin, and Assemblymembers Vito Lopez and Joe Lentol, just before the zoning subcommittee hearing at 10 am. Here are their quotes:

“As an affordable housing advocate, I cannot support a development plan that will bring thousands of new luxury units to an already overcrowded neighborhood. The project is simply too big and too dense. I urge the community to come out and voice their opposition to the extraordinary height and density of this project. While the plan does offer affordable housing, the thousands of luxury units the developers are proposing will place a burden on the established infrastructure in our community. The community should not have to pay such an overwhelming cost for the affordable housing it deserves,” said Assembly Housing Chair Vito Lopez.

“I stand with Assembly Housing Chair Lopez and the communities we represent in opposition to the Domino project. I continue to oppose this project because it exacerbates the congestion in Williamsburg on all levels. Buses and subways are already over capacity each day. The Domino plan will decrease open space in a neighborhood that has lost acres of open space in the past few years. I ask the community to stand with us at the rally on Monday and testify against the project in the City Council,” said Councilmember Steve Levin.

“The Domino plan is simply too dense and too high for the neighborhood to absorb. Everyone, including me, wants the affordable housing but without transparency I cant believe that the potentially disastrous effect a project of this size will have on the transit system, traffic, the schools, emergency and police services, social services, open space and the character of the neighborhood is necessary. Its not right for our community,” said Assemblymember Joseph Lentol.

and one more from NAG Co-Chair's Ward Dennis, bottom left, who may be brandishing his zoning sword at the hearing.

"Hello, my name is Ward Dennis. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

http://static.open.salon.com/files/pbr_038duel1252260868.jpg

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Married Mann


Greenpoint Gazette Publisher Jeff Mann is getting married tomorrow. This photo from the Seneca Club dinner at The Polonaise is the last known picture of his whereabouts. If anyone knows where Jeff is, call The Gazette at 718-389-6067.

I'm kidding. Jeff's fine. He's not nervous at all. Just look at him. Can't wait to see you break some glass tomorrow. Remember to use your heel and not the flat part of your foot.

Broadway Triangle... no update


Still no word on what's going on with the Broadway Triangle. There was a hearing on Monday, when plaintiffs requested a litany of documents from the city, the defendant in the case. Meanwhile, the plaintiff's attention appears to be turning to other issues. Rob Solano's Churches United group is hosting a pro-Domino press conference on Whipple Street Thursday afternoon while Brooklyn Legal Services attorneys are cleaning up the mess from a landlord-tenant dispute on North Eighth Street. Looks like we're in another intermission for a while.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Breaking! Ryan Kuonen is on CB1!


Neighbors Allied for Good Growth's Ryan Kuonen (pronounced Koo-OWN-in) is a new member of Community Board 1, replacing Israel Framowitz, who left. Kuonen will receive her secret CB1 decoder ring during the board's ancient initiation ritual to be held on the roof of the Domino Refinery building. Details TBA!
(Actually, another source says that Kuonen replaced NAG's Peter Gillespie. Either way, Kuonen is on and Gillespie/ Framowitz are off.)

Tuesday Treehugging Hippie Links


Because what we need in New York is more hippie tree huggers. Fortunately they've been quarantined on an island for the weekend. Governor's Island. Let's go to the tape.

*Tip of the cap to Ben Chapman and his action Daily News Team who uncovered not one, but two scandals at the Grand Street campus. Staff from Progress High School went on a swanky professional development conference and the School of Legal Studies just returned from their own luxury junket in shades of "Caucus, caucus, caucus!" frustrating teachers grappling with severe budget cuts.

*Meanwhile, Chapman uncovered that students from Legal Studies have instituted their own fight club, promoting boxing matches after school and posting videos to youtube. Are they getting afterschool credit for this? If the bill for ultimate fighting gets out of the Ways and Means Committee this week, this could become a legitimate for-profit after school club. Nicely done Mr. Champan.

*The Greenpoint Food Market is closing, but not because of anything the city did. In fact, market organizer Joann Kim is postponing her June 26 market in favor of a "Think Tank" summit. My proposal for the "Greenpoint Food and Beer Summit" title was shot down, but Kim will be inviting representatives from the Health Department, Small Business, and Councilman Steve Levin, to talk about city rules and regulations and food industry professionals such as Harry Rosenblum from the Meat Hook, Robicelli's Allison Robicelli, Joshua Kace of Slantshack Jerky, and others to talk about how to launch a business in the industry. For much more, visit http://greenpointfoodmarket.wordpress.com/

*A BP station in Williamsburg to vandalized. On Shabbos. That pretty much rules out a Hasidic suspect, right?

*Brownstoner looks at a building on Kent that is going nowhere.

*Bill Murray wanders into a poetry walk on the Brooklyn Bridge.

*11211 writes about an old city health clinic on N. First Street and how 400 Bedford may be occupied.

*The Greenpoint Gazette reviews Bushwick Open Studios and breaks down City Planning's Domino decision.

*More art, as the Downtown Star looks at Willoughby Windows, and some architecture, as Brown Memorial Church looks towards plans to grow.

*Finally, the State Assembly and the State Senate passed Loft Laws. What does it all mean? We don't know yet (look for an article soon). In the meantime, check out BushwickBK's Jeremy Sapienza's take on the laws in Bushwick and Eliot Brown's take from the Observer, which will no doubt enable more performances like the one below:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Photo of the day: Philball


Phil "Strasburg" Abramson threw a perfect game at Leif Erickson Park in Bay Ridge, which Vinnie Gentile funded. Parks Phil kept striking out legislator after legislator even though all these constituents won't get off the field. Parks Phil had his mojo working. USA! USA! USA!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seneca Warren


It was a coming out party of sorts for Democratic District Leader candidate Warren Cohn, far right, with the entire Cohn family. Check back later for much more.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Seneca Nation 2010


It's that time again. Once a year, good political boys and girls horde their chits for the entire year in hopes of schmoozing with current 50th Democratic District Leader Steve Cohn.
But this year there will be a different feel, as Cohn attempts to hand the reins of the political job over to his 24-year old son, Warren.
Soo many questions! Will Carolyn Maloney pig out on pierogis and sausages or just stick to the salad? Will Steve Levin and Vito wear matching outfits? Will Andrew Cuomo show up wearing a USA-flag bikini bottom in honor of the World Cup and mistake Steve Levin for Warren?
We'll have a sticky, pierogi-filled photo round-up of the event tomorrow.

Press Release of the Week: Donut Holes!

Ed Towns strikes it rich again, with the Press Release of the Week. This time it's about donut holes, but not the ones you think.

Rep. Towns Announces That “Donut Hole” Checks Are
Now On Their Way to Tens of Thousands of SeniorsHealth Reform Law Will Help About 4 Million Seniors To Receive
$250 Checks Over Next Several Months

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Edolphus " Ed" Towns announced that, starting today, Medicare will begin mailing out to tens of thousands of seniors $250 ‘donut hole’ checks. Under the recently enacted health reform law, seniors who fall in the donut hole coverage gap in 2010 will receive this one-time tax-free $250 rebate check. These checks will continue to be mailed monthly over the next several months as seniors enter the coverage gap.

The checks are just the first benefit from health reform for seniors in the Medicare Prescription Drug program. Beginning in January 2011, seniors in the donut hole will receive a 50% discount on brand name drugs. By 2020, the donut hole will be completely closed.
“Prescription drugs cost many people thousands of dollars a year and this check is a down payment on reducing prescription drug costs for seniors and eventually closing the donut hole altogether,” Rep. Towns said. “This is the first example of how the health care reform bill will strengthen Medicare and help seniors.”

Congressional Republicans created the donut hole – leaving thousands of seniors to choose between buying the prescriptions they need and putting food on the table – and now they refuse to help close it. The ‘donut hole’ coverage gap is the period in the prescription drug benefit (once their prescription drug costs exceed $2,830) in which the beneficiary pays 100 percent of the cost of their drugs until they hit the catastrophic coverage threshold.

Last year, roughly 246,000 Medicare beneficiaries in our state of New York fell in the donut hole and received no extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs. Now, under health reform, help is on the way.

Under health care reform, the $250 checks are just the first step in reducing seniors’ prescription drug costs. Beginning next year, there is a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs in the donut hole, and by 2020, the donut hole is completely closed.

Medicare recipients don’t have to do anything to get the $250 check – once their drug costs for the year hit $2,830 the one-time check will be issued automatically. But Rep. Towns warned seniors to be on the lookout for fraud.

Making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors is only one of the many benefits for seniors included in the recently enacted health reform law. Other benefits for seniors include:

· Provides free preventive care services under Medicare, beginning in 2011.
· Strengthens Medicare by extending its solvency by an additional 12 years, from 2017 to 2029.
· Improves seniors’ access to doctors.
· Continues to reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
· Improves care by helping doctors communicate and coordinate.
· Expands home and community-based services to keep seniors in their home, instead of in nursing homes.

“Congressional Republicans calling for health reform repeal oppose this progress for seniors, and would return us to a system of higher drug costs, shrinking benefits, and insecurity for our seniors,” said Rep. Towns. “They would protect insurance company profits at the expense of the care our seniors need and deserve. Democrats in Congress won’t let that happen.”

Petition.... Petition!


It's the beginning of petition season, and there was Lincoln Restler standing outside CB1 for its monthly board meeting Tuesday night. Inside was Steve Cohn, right, shaking hands and introducing longtime members to his son, Warren.
Petitions kick off for the next two weeks ("I'm in petition hell" said one spunky Brooklyn staffer) so we won't have a lot to say until candidates start handing them in.
Also, for no apparent reason whatsoever, here's a photo of Rob Solano.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Community Board 1: The end of the Wardynasty


Before we pause to reflect the end of an era, let’s take a look at the scene outside the Swinging Sixties Center, where Community Board 1 is about to have the last meeting of the year. It is petition season, which means that Lincoln Restler, a candidate for Democratic District Leader (read Juliet's profile if you missed it) is greeting board members one-by-one as they enter the Center and asking them for signatures. I arrive just in time to see Rabbi David Niederman and Lincoln promise to call each other.

Inside an inexplicably chilly room (the AC is ON!), current District Leader Steve Cohn has turned up the schmooze levels to eleven, introducing board members to his son, Warren, who is also running for District Leader after the elder Cohn announced he would step down two weeks ago. Elder Cohn reminds Press Row that the Seneca Club annual dinner is coming up Thursday and we're invited to attend (provided we work it). Drinks on the machine?

6:43 PM: District Manager Gerry Esposito takes the roll before handing the mic to Ed Towns Liaison Jonathan Noble, who talks about the new HPD office. I grab the Cohns for a couple of prom photos on the steps of the Swinging Sixties Senior Center. Meanwhile, the Chairman Emeritus arrives. Nice to see him in good spirits.

Noble exits and we get to the fitness center on 16 Eckford Street, the first of three items. The gym has a BSA application awaiting community board approval even though they opened on June 1. No one has any questions.

We have three sidewalk cafĂ© applications, including a renewal requested by Bedford Avenue’s DuMont Burger, makers of the best burgers in Williamsburg. This doesn’t seem to be a problem as if there’s one thing that a diverse community board 1 likes, it’s burgers.

Item number three is a rep from New York City Transit and the Department of Transportation to talk about bus rapid transit on the B44 bus on Nostrand Avenue. This touches a tiny portion of the district near Bedford Avenue and Nostrand Avenue and follows the success of rapid transit on Fordham Road in the Bronx. Fun fact! Did you know that buses are in motion only 45 percent of the time and the rest of the time it is either stopped for traffic, for a red light, or for passenger discharge? You did? Let’s move on.

7:12 PM: Everyone’s trying to squeeze their transit questions into the next five minutes after they realized that a live body from New York City Transit. Rob Solano asks about express service on the M train, Rabbi Niederman asks about traffic, Heather Roslund asks three questions about metrocard machines, and another member asks if there are any plans to link Williamsburg to Manhattan with a bus over the Williamsburg Bridge, since the B39 bus which does this is getting cut later this month.
Transit guy: "At this time there are no such plans."
Board member: "Is it possible to make plans?"
Transit guy: "We're all hopeful that the economy gets better and services will change."

"The thing you take home tonight is this is a service that will dramatically improve bus service on the Nostrand Avenue-Bedford Avenue corridor, it is about two years away, and it is partially federally funded. This will be an exciting project that everyone will get on board." And it will run a lot faster once they get Keanu Reeves on board.

7:32 PM: We're inaugurating five new board members. For those keeping at home, that's two new Hasids (Moishe Zelik and Moishe Kahan) and two new Latino board members (Will Florentino and David Lopez). I pull Jon Noble aside to find out what's going on in the world of Ed Towns. Jon says Ed is supporting Warren over Lincoln and that he's trying to get his wife to come to the Seneca Club meeting on Thursday. Everybody put pressure on Jon's wife!

7:34 PM: Chairman Chris is imploring board members to send in committee reports several days in advance and the obligatory plug to attend more meetings. Sitting on Press Row, Open Space Alliance's Julia Morrow appears to be engrossed in her homework, developing a media plan, or something.
Julia: I've got important things to do Aaron. I just turned the lights on at the field and rode my back here in 15 minutes. How do you like me now!

Chairman Chris is starting to break a sweat talking about Charter Revision and the history of the 197a plan, the rezoning of the Williamsburg waterfront. He's got a resolution to call on the Charter Revision Commission to "reform fair share and 197a" and "put it on the ballot." It is unanimously approved. Chairman Chris thanks his colleagues, but cautions that "we must look more and more poignantly at the process as a whole," and references the Greenpoint Oil Spill in relation to the BP oil spill, because "we're one of the only communities in the country that understands what this means."
"I just want to wish everyone a great summer. Enjoy yourselves." Applause.

7:53 PM: That's it! No, that's not it. Committee reports. A moment of silence for Ward Dennis the Land Use Menace.
Ward explains two items, the Department of Sanitation's request to renew its garbage truck garage on 525 Johnson Avenue and a city zoning request on car sharing, making it easier to allow car sharing in city garages. Both pass easily.

8:00 PM It's election time. No, not that election. Executive Committee elections.
Rabbi David Niederman congratulates Ward Dennis for his efforts on behalf of the city. More applause. Now we're in the voting. Heather Roslund, aka the New Ward,
Chairman Chris notes taht this meeting marks the 33rd year that DM Gerry Esposito has been working at CB1.
"Very few district managers have show this kind of dedication that Gerry has shown to his community," says Chairman Chris. Applause and some audible gasps.

Ward takes the mike again, thanking board members for their support.
"Back to the car sharing text amendment..."
No, back to Ward. He's among the most knowledgeable land use and housing representatives that the board has had and it is lucky to have him. He's not going anywhere though, as Chairman Chris reminds us, he's just going to run Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in the meantime. Let's play that Rude Boy out with some Rihanna.

8:06 PM: Del Teague takes the mic to talk about budgets which turns into a long and meandering report about the GREC letter which did not end up getting GREC the Greenpoint Hospital RFP. Meanwhile NAG's Allison Davis peaces out of here before I can ask her whether her mom's house in Florida has any BP oil on it yet.
The Chairman Emeritus leaves too, saying that it has been voted upon already and he doesn't understand why people are still arguing about this. Chairman Chris says this should have been handled in committee and Del backtracks, saying this isn't controversial. Still, it is taking twenty minutes longer than it should.
We've got a sports update. What do Community Board 1 and Stephen Strasburg have in common? Both have eight strikeouts so far tonight.

8:29 PM: Italia Guerro from Borough President Marty Markowitz's office is presenting certificates to baord membrs who tattended every meeting last year. This is like middle school. Simon Weisser! Del Teague! Heather Roslund! Mieszko Kalita! Ward Dennis! and Vincent Abate! Also Esteban Duran.

8:31 PM Karen Nieves gives the Transportation report, starting with the Kosciouszko Bridge update and some new outreach with the 94th Precinct and Transportation Alternatives with ane enforcement plan (think checkpoints, safety guides for riders, more studies) to make McGuiness Avenue safer. You're going to be hearing a lot more about this. Snaps for Karen.
Finally, the next meeting will feature the DOT's plan to resurface the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge, and Karen needs more participation from board members. C'mon, people, show Karen some love. It's the Karen Nieves era after all.

8:37 PM: Steve Levin arrives, although he actually arrived at 8:04 PM. He was just talking to the Chairman Emeritus outside the Swinging Sixties Center about the War. The Great War. Steve comes inside and has a few words:
"As many people are aware, the project was voted out of City Planning yesterday and it did not incorporate many of CB1's suggestions. Our office along with Assemblyman Lopez and Assemblyman Lentol will host a town hall meeting next Thursday, June 17... I want to make sure that we get everyone's voices heard. The hearing before the zoning subcommittee is the last time to have your voices known. I think everyone knows my take on the project and I share CB1's recommendations straight down the line."

Steve mentions that a town hall meeting will be starting for McGuinness Boulevard.
The real reason I raced back up here is to recognize our outgoing Land Use Chair Ward Dennis. I want to recognize what he has done over the past few years. He is universally respected... he has brought a dignity and a real level of respect. His successor has big shoes to fill. Actually, he's not really going anywhere."
Jesus. Is Ward dying?
Also, what else is happening on June 17? Oh right, Greenpoint Gazette Publisher Jeff Mann's wedding. Guess the Assemblymembers aren't coming.

8:45 PM: Alcohol Committee Assistant Vice Chairman Tom Burrows reads the list of liquor licenses to be approved including Calexico and Crif Dogs. All eight get approved. Next are the renewals. They're approved too. Tom mentions The Woods, which folded its application for a backyard bar, and it is not approved.

8:50 PM Public Session! Let's keep it brief.

*Julia Morrow has lots of Parks updates for OSA. There's free yoga on the northern part of McCarren Park, there's a skate clinic at the skate park, there's Make Music New York in six parks on June 21, L Magazine is bringing free movies back to McCarren on July, the Northside Festival returns on June 26 and 27th, the N. Fifth Pier is open for public access, Transmitter Park is in construction, OSA has hired two maintenance workers to clean the bathrooms, and OSA is looking for more volunteers for plantings, outrage, and whatever else is needed.

*James from Trophy Bar wants to introduce himself. "We would rather hear directly about concerns from our neighbors rather than from the newspaper."

Julia: That was super fun guys! It sure was. We'll see you in September.

Links! Links! Links!


Photo by Jim Davis, Boston Globe
"You see, 'E', I think Ward's legacy as head of the Land Use Committee has been to get to the heart of the matter of every complex rezoning proposal."

Last year around this time, it was Broadway Triangle madness (aka "Shut it down! Shut it down!") that blew out the meeting and frustrated most of the members in attendance.
Tonight it's going to be pretty brief. Ward steps down from CB1's Land Use Committee tonight, leading off a pretty dry meeting, topped off by a BSA from a new gym on Eckford Street which has Miss Heather pretty excited. I'll get to the gossip tomorrow, but here's an overdue list of links to pick through.

*The New York Times strikes again, profiling The Yard and how awesome it is. Unfortunately, it has now been shut down. The Greenpoint Food Market is now very very worried.

*Speaking of cool things closing/ reinventing themselves, Mimi Luse goes behind the closure of the Market Hotel to detail Todd P's plans in a piece for The Brooklyn Rail. It's one of the better Todd P pieces out there.

*Bushwick Open Studios, which featured 314 open studios this weekend, is over. The highlights? Stephen Truax at BushwickBK has it covered.

*CB1 member Esteban Duran is running for Male District Leader in the 53rd, against Vito Lopez, who is also a state legislator of some note. He held his first fundraiser at Ooba, winner of the Brooklyn Paper's smackdown earlier this year, with Barbara Medina, running for the female slot.

*Also declaring this week in the 50th with Lincoln Restler was Kate Zidar, a Pratt professor and one of an ever rotating number of Lacey Tauber's best friends.

*Speaking of The Restler, the Fort Greene Local/NYTimes profiled him on their Local blog. Because Lincoln is Local. That's not a bad slogan is it? It certainly beats, Restle the Machine.

*As for CBID, IND and WTF, themole has his rundown of the endorsements. When Lincoln and the Mole meet in person, I have a feeling it's going to go something like this...


*Finally, Tom Tracy has a crazy story from Marco Polo Restaurant in Carroll Gardens that must have looked like a cross between The Godfather and Cops. Wait... isn't there another show this reminds me of? Oh right.

Monday, June 7, 2010

City Planning is Unanimous... another Domino falls

Another domino indeed fell this afternoon, as City Planning voted to push through the plan to rezone 11 acres of the Williamsburg waterfront. The hearing was pretty cut and dry, and it was all done in about half an hour. Next comes a City Council subcommittee hearing, where Steve Levin will attempt to shave a few hundred units from the project. This won't be as easy as Rose Plaza, as the words "Speaker Quinn" "balls" and "vice clamp" have been uttered to me by a couple of knowledgeable sources.

I know, I know, I'm very behind posting links, round-ups, shout outs, etc. Please forgive me. It was Bushwock Open Studios! Hell, even the commenters last week have been wittier than the blog posts and when have you seen that happen?

We'll start bringing it again this week, kicking off tomorrow's last CB1 board meeting of the summer. Mieszko might be out of town, but it's Ward's last one as Land Use Chairman. Do not try to put Ward on a flaming raft and push him into the middle of Newtown Creek. It doesn't have to end like this.
P.S. The blogfest is tomorrow night as well, which means I'm going to have to crash the after party. It's at the Brooklyn Lyceum. A word on blogging and reporting from someone who does a little of both. Why is it when a blogger cuts and pastes an article directly from a newspaper without crediting it properly it is called "linking" but when a reporter independently verifies a story a blogger brought to light (say, without even looking at a blogger's website), it is called "poaching." Not that I do either. This, by the way, is proper poaching technique:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Anyone know a North Korean soccer bar?

I'm trying very hard to find one with little success. Anyone have a tip?

Community Board 1 class of 2011

We've got the list. There are five new members. A few notable additions. David Lopez, who runs Los Sures, is on the board (updated: Whoops! It's his son, David Lopez Jr. Not the father. Still, they both wear fly straw hats). Former Reyna staffer Will Florentino is a new addition, as is RBSCC staffer and Davila campaign volunteer, Maria Viera. I remember suggesting to Viera on Election Day that she should think about applying for CB1, and it's good to see her on the list. Moishe Zelik and Giorgio Mayer finish the group.

1. Vincent Abate

2. Joseph Calise

3. Frank Carbone

4. Sophie Chabrowski

5. Theresa Cianciotta

6. Marie Leanza

7. Vincent Gangone

8. Giorgio Mayer

9. Avrom Katz

10. Yenfri Gomez

11. Karen Leader

12. Jose Leon

13. Peter Gillespie

14. Dewey Thompson

15. David Niederman

16. Mary Odomirok

17. Israel Rosario

18. Del Teague

19. David Lopez (Jr.)

20. Maria Viera

21. Robert Solano

22. Stephen Weidberg

23. David Weinstock

24. Moshe Zelik

25. Esteban Duran

Expires March 31, 2011

1. Paul Pullo

2. Israel Framovitz

3. Katherine Naplatarski

4. Jaye Fox

5. James Vicente

6. Yehuda Turner

7. Mieszko Kalita

8. Moshe Kahan

9. Karen Nieves

10. Julie Lawrence

11. Heather Roslund

12. Simon Weiser

13. Solomon Bondo

14. Christopher Olechowski

15. Philip Caponegro

16. Joseph Cimino

17. Abraham Perlstein

18. Thomas Burrows

19. Lisa Bamonte

20. Wilfredo Florentino

21. Joseph Weber

22. Dealice Fuller

23. Ward Dennis

24. Michael Chirichella

25. Gina Barros