Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where was I...?

Ahhh... that's right. The blog. I knew I was forgetting something the past couple of weeks. I'm working on an important story. Perhaps you've heard about it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Evan Thies!

A Short Story would like to wish Evan Thies a happy 31st (?) birthday. Evan, you don't look a day over 26. Good luck at your consulting office fending off the advances of Ken Cosgrove.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Community Board 1: Welcome Back

6:15 PM: After a long summer hiatus, Community Board 1 is back in the Swinging Sixties Senior Center for the first meeting of the school year. There are 19 people in the room right now, or as it is otherwise known, Lincoln Restler’s election margin. Unlike the Restler-Cohn election, whether this meeting will be an interesting one is not too close to call. On the agenda tonight includes an appearance by Brooklyn Great Names All Star and Facial Hair Hall of Fame member Jack Hammer, who will give a presentation about the Northside Town Hall, a number of liquor licenses, and a St. Nicks Alliance’s award for the Chairman Emeritus Vinny Abate.
Also, there is a very important announcement on some of the tables: All Bingo Players- We will now have Big Bingo every Tuesday this week. All Bingo Players get FREE Grilled Hot Dogs with Sauerkraut AND Coffee. Wow.

6:22 PM: Holy crap! There’s food? There is! Maybe four dozen wraps are from Food Bazaar's Michael Chironno and Chris Sung. I haven't seen food at a meeting since 2008! Mr. Chironno and Mr. Sung are immediately in the running to be MVPs of the September meeting.

6:30 pm: District Manager Gerry Esposito reads the roll call andChairman Chris clears up some rumors that there will be a discussion about the planned men’s shelter and assessment center on 400 McGuinness Bouleveard. “That’s not going to happen,” says Chairman Chris. Apparently HELP USA! did not confirm.
In the meantime, there will be a special joint committee Public Safety, Human Services Committee on Sept. 27, at the Polish National Home, Driggs and Nassau Avenue, just on that one item. A representative from the Department of Homeless Services will be there, but the CEO of HELP USA! has not confirmed his attendance.

6:33 PM Sadly, Jack Hammer did not show up. I can’t tell you how deflating this is. Instead, we have Eunice Su, a project manager from HPD and Felice Kirby, VP of the Town Hall Board, to speak about the non-ULULRP UDAP. Let’s go to Felice.

“I am thrilled and proud to be on the board of the nonprofit. I am so happy to be here on behalf of so many supporters on whose shoulders we sat to save this project. We are thrilled through the hard work of the community board, we were able to stop this building from going to luxury housing and instead it’s going to be a gem for the community. The plans discussed are very rudimentary. We have to raise $2 million and we have raised $1.2 million to date.”
Del Teague, chairwoman of the board at Town Hall, just entered, to applause, which was also meant for the money that was raised. Or maybe they're just big fans of Tea With the Queen.

Felice adds more context and Su explains that the city hopes to be done with all public reviews by January and notes that this is the first closed firehouse going through the public review process. Felice continues:
"I don't think that the city will put a gun to our heads if we don't raise all of the money. We've heard we have this project. It was a competitive process and we won that contest among 54 competitive bids including complete theatrical companies, which were very impressive...
The council money won't materialize until 2012. We need everyone in the community to tell Marty Markowitz, Joe [Lentol] and Steve Levin that this is an important project.
That building is happening now. It is unstoppable. We're using it every month. You should see the artist projects that we do."

6:53 PM: Chairman Chris plows through a bunch of agenda items from presenters who are not here, skipping to Jose Leon of St. Nick's Alliance and Lisa Bamonte who will present an award to represent an award given to the Chairman Emeritus, who is 92 years old, on behalf of his work with Settlement House and the School Settlement Association. The award is a framed copy of a Greenline newspaper article about Abate's achievements. The framed picture of Abate will hang in the lobby of this building. Let's go to the Chairman Emeritus:
"This is the first time in my adult life that I have not run an organization. It was always busy at times. Now I have a lot of time on my hands. I feel I've walked off the planet. Nobody calls me. They think he just wants his peace. The only peace I could find is if the big guy says come on up or if the other guy says come on down. I have to be very careful what I wish for."
Chairman Chris: Thank you very much, Vinny. You're very dear to our hearts.

7:03 PM: We have a presentation from a representative with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, who is not TLC Commissioner David Yassky, to speak about a new service called the Group Ride Vehicles Pilot Program along the former B39 bus route from the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza over the Williamsburg Bridge into the Lower East Side.
Esteban Duran, who lost a District Leader race to Vito Lopez yesterday, asks whether the the limos will have service to the disabled, and it's
Also, the service will be cash only. And driven by this man.

7:18 PM: Diane Jackson gives a short presentation to update the community board regarding Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation and its subsequent meetings with Housing and Preservation Development after it awarded the bid to another developer.
Jackson: "It is said there is still possibility that the city has stopped discussions with the winning bidder."
Unfortunately for GREC, HPD confirmed it is still awarding the Greenpoint Hospital project to TNS-Great American, and not GREC.
Jackson notes several additional events at Cooper Park and arts events in Bushwick
Frank Lang, Housing from St. Nicks Alliance

7:26 PM: New board member Maria Viera arrives, chatting briefly with Levin liaison Rami Metal. Standing in the doorway is Lopez superstar intern Andy Marte who is checking out the scene. Will try to find out what his reactions are to a busy day of campaigns during a break in the action. Meanwhile, Chairman Chris closes public session and we're into the board meeting. Motion to adjourn is approved and we go to the second roll.

7:30 PM Chairman Chris announces three new board members who will be sworn in: Ryan Kuonen, Maria Viera, and Moishe Zelig. Moishe isn't here, but Ryan and Maria are.

7:36 PM: Committee Reports! The Karen Nieves Era leads us off with her Transportation Report, beginning with a summary of a June committee meeting. She's reading her notes word for word, beginning with a Nassau Avenue construction update. The community's worries so far include flooding on Nassau Avenue and Jewel Street, truck traffic at PS 84, truck traffic on Wythe and Kent Avenue, the proposed Greenpoint Avenue bike lane and proposed traffic calming measures...

While Karen continues, let's welcome Juliet Linderman of the Greenpoint Gazette to Press Row! For the past hour, Linderman has been asking hipsters in McCarren Park if they would be so kind as to put out their cigarettes because it is now illegal to smoke in parks for a story. How'd that go, Linderman?
"They were none too pleased."

Karen yields the floor to Julie Lawrence who talks about a kayaking event on the Pulaski Bridge- she must mean in Newtown Creek under the Pulaski Bridge- before continuing on other events.

7:51 PM: Karen finishes her report. Esteban has a question about Flushing Avenue garbage pickup and demands a letter. At this point it needs to be pointed out that this meeting is severely dragging... but to the rescue comes... Mieszko Kalita!

7:54 PM: Mieszko- "We only have two liquor licenses, but for the first time ever, one is a hotel license."
Gasps from the crowd.
"This is for the entire building. If it is 2 am and you desire a drink, a drink will be brought to you."
This is the Graves Hotel Project, known as Hotel Williamsburg and its cafe, Streets Restaurant. It is easily approved. Mieszko notes the Sept 27 meeting about the Homeless Shelter at the Polish National Home, also known as The Warsaw.

7:58 PM: Dewey Thomspon gives an update about the $10 million Environmental Benefits Project, regarding money awarded to the community due to the city's numerous construction delays and violations. Thompson notes that the impact area for these projects (aka the cash) must be within half a mile of the impact area in Greenpoint. City Parks Foundation is in the process of evaluating where the money will go, so we're going to have to wait a bit for that decision. Dewey has his own awesome plan to build a boat house at the end of Manhattan Avenue for kayaks and canoes, but he doesn't talk about that too much.

8:07 PM: Chairman Chris welcomes Heather Roslund as the new Land Use Chairwoman. Ward Dennis sheds a tear. Roslund says that it's been a quiet summer but notes some controversy between the Java Street Pier, aka the Impro-Pier, and a phantom RFP that the city put out which went to only one developer. Linderman has been on this for a couple of weeks, and a new article in Architect's Newspaper, "Plan for Pier Floods Greenpoint," is out too. The board wrote a letter requesting the city to revoke the RFP and begin the process anew.
Rami Metal mumbles through his says that Levin is on his way and will speak shortly.

8:13 PM: Public session
*A new event called Willifest, the international film festival, is coming Sept 23-26. 169 films from around the world will be playing for three days. Several venues include El Puente, The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn Bowl, the new Indie Film Theater on Kent and S. 2nd, and more.

*Laura Hofmann wants to let everyone know how bad an idea it is to locate a homeless shelter on McGuinness Boulevard. She acknowledges that the homeless need a place to stay, but is disturbed by its close location to the Newtown Creek Nature Walk. Also there's a chloroform cloud at Paidge Street and Hofmann says it's unfair because homeless should not be located in an area that is unfit for habitation.

8:18 PM: Old Business. Miss Heather from New York Shitty takes the opportunity to say hello and goodbye. And we should check her blog out. Done and done.

8:26 PM: Councilman Steve Levin arrives, takes the microphone, and lays out how the whole impro-pier saga went down:

"What EDC did was put out an RFP. Didn't tell me. Didn't tell community board. I don't even know if they told folks in the administration. But they went ahead and did it anyway, with Stiles LLP, who owns the adjacent land. What they get with it is a density bonus. The whole thing is very fishy. We've taken a public stance that this RFP should be withdrawn... The community gets nothing out of it. Nothing, unless maybe if you have a historic vessel..."

Mieszko asks Levin about his position on the 400 McGuinness shelter. Levin: "I have my reservations on this. It's a temporary situation with 200 beds. It does nothing to address Greenpoint and Williamsburg's issues regarding homeless. We have issues in Greenpoint with chronic homelessness. I live on the corner of Morgan and Meeker and all winter there were homeless individuals who slept under the BQE on mattresses."

8:45 PM: New Business. Esteban has a question about a negative recommendation for the rezoning on three small site projects on Bedford and S. Third, and two lots at Maujer and Ten Eyck.

Tom Burrows asks the Community Board for another letter, a stronger letter, to the city asking for the community board' support of the GREC proposal and to reverse its award for TNS-Great American Construction. As Tish Cianciotta gives an impassioned speech demanding the need for a letter, Levin shakes hands with a few community members in the back of the room and heads out. Chairman Chris asks for a motion to vote on the letter, and then asks for a copy of the RFP from GREC. There's some quibbling from several board members who don't want to do that. The letter is approved. We have a motion to adjourn. Before that, let's do a mustache-off. Vote for your favorite Community Board 1 facial hair this month.

A. Mieszko B. Gerry C. Rolando

Vote in the comments! Good night!

And now... a message from Mieszko...

Hallo. I am Mieszko. Welcome back to Community Board One. It's been a long hot summer without your Community Board, but we are back in 211 Ainslie, which some call, the Swinging Sixties... Not me. I don't swing.... did I mention the summer was long... and hot... my it's hot in here right now...

...where was I? Ah yes. My committee report. We have 486 new liquor license applications which the committee recommends approval and one application which we recommend disapproval with modifications of course. This one establishment wants to open for 25 hours, which is technically, not possible... since there are only 24 hours in the day, or if you lived in the Eastern Block as I did, when there were 15 hours in the day. Very confusing.

Between you and me, those 14-hour work days were... very difficult. A dark time for Poland. But back to community board.. there is a meeting tonight. The agenda is available online, but it will be very short. Very short. Shhhhhhh. It's ok. Mieszko is here. It will be alright. After, we will celebrate with beers. Welcome back, community members. I've missed you.

And your winners are...

Linda Minucci, Joe Lentol, Vito Lopez, Kevin Peter Carroll, Jo Anne Simon and Chris Owens all won their races yesterday... but the Lincoln Restler- Warren Cohn battle remained too close to call.

Restler celebrated his 20 vote margin anyway last night at Teddy's, as unofficial results put Restler ahead- barely- 50.2 percent to 48.8 percent (Kate Zidar lost to Minucci by about 400 votes though those numbers were unofficial). Both sides went to Board of Elections headquarters at 42 Broadway and are now in Sunset Park sifting through votes in order to sort this thing out.
It's so close that both camps are predicting a "protacted legal battle" and A Short Story has decided to retain election attorney Martin Connor just for the hell of it. It's fourth an inches, as Warren might say, unless things get called back for a penalty, and they probably will. Stay tuned.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baby Alligator Disenfranchised!

Photo courtesy of The Daily News

A baby alligator attempting to vote for Lincoln Restler in Fort Greene was picked up by officers from the 88th precinct. The alligator, which was wearing a "Reptiles for Restler" campaign button was put in the back seat of a police cruiser and taken to animal control, where it also attempted to vote for Lincoln Restler.

Meanwhile, a pigeon in South Williamsburg was seen carrying a Warren Cohn flyer in his beak flying by Taylor Wythe houses. Details to follow.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday's Massive political links

In the days before the primary, everyone and their brother is leaving giant dumps of badly written political analysis on blogs, websites, news articles, twitter feeds, etc. And this site is no exception. But someone has to sort through all that bullsh-t. Let's take a look through a busy weekend of political coverage before we screw it and go home.

*The most damning political article this week comes courtesy of the New York Post regarding how the two top Ridgewood Bushwick execs, Christiana Fisher and Angela Battaglia, saw salary increases of 180 percent and 73 percent respectively from last year's tax filings. The nonprofit, Vito's baby, has received over $21 million in earnings, a substantial portion of which is from government grants and subsidies (read: member items). Nearly every nonprofit in the city has an active and aggressive development office writing grants and holding fundraisers. In three years of covering RBSCC, I have not encountered one.

*The District Leader race is getting a lot of media attention from The Daily News (Erin Durkin and Jake Pearson's summary), to Gatemouth's Chris Owens-friendly stream and 52nd coverage at Room8, to Norman Oder's insights on the 57th District Leader in Atlantic Yards Report to the view from the 53rd District in Bushwick at BushwickBK, and the WG News and Arts's lenghty piece tagging along with Lincoln Restler in the 50th District Not to mention a sprawling but informative Q and A with Josh Benson and Azi Paybarah on Capital New York and Tom Robbins' succinct and informative Village Voice piece. You've got a lot of reading to do to catch up. You're welcome.

Okay, you've done all the required reading. Let's get to some highlights:

*The nastiest spat on the trail has occurred between (surprise) Jo Anne Simon and Hope Reichbach. Simon eviscerated Reichbach in a post on Brooklyn Heights Blog that's more about Vito than Hope. Reichbach bit back in another guest post. Also, Alan Fleischman apparently filed a formal complaint against Hope's dad, Judge Gus Reichbach, for participating in her campaign and Simon's husband made an off-hand remark about Hope's physical appearance. Vito also made an off-handed remark about Jo Anne's physical appearance a year ago at his picnic, so, this means they're even, right? Anyway, Hope has a new video out.

Vote for Hope and Steve from BKMedialab on Vimeo.

*I believe it's time that we had a grammar lesson. In Warren Cohn's campaign literature, there's a line that reads: Warren was raised with a commitment to service others. In the Post, Vito is quoted saying Ridgewood Bushwick "does an outstanding job servicing the residents of north Brooklyn." Guys, you don't want to use the word servicing as a verb in the present participle because it means something vastly different than what you think it does.

*Finally, some blanket predictions. I believe that every district leader candidate in Brooklyn younger than 37 will win tomorrow, with two exceptions: Jesse Owens and Esteban Duran. Williamson will take the 52nd without cracking 40 percent and Vito will likely trounce, earning over 70 percent of the vote. And I think Restler and Cohn is heading for a recount, with Restler up by under 100 votes. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen tomorrow and I'm not basing this on anything, so if Simon holds off Reichbach, Owens or Strauss emerge victorious, or if Restler or Cohn wins big... well...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Rosh Hasha-na-na

Blue Moon! Shana tovah! Political links and a new Judgment Day version of The Short List will return tomorrow.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dear Connecticut Chuck Norris,

I did not actually take any of your campaign signs, although I was extremely tempted to do so. I applaud your courage for running for Probate Judge in the Norwich Probate District (not Windham County as I previously wrote) as it should make for compelling political journalism over the next coming months.

I am also slightly afraid of you for the fact that you have your own fight move, the "roundhouse kick," registered with the U.S. Patent Office and that you once wrestled and killed a bear with your bare hands to save Cybill Shepherd.

In conclusion, I am including my address below so that your campaign could send a Chuck Norris for Probate Judge poster, which I will pose with and photograph on my blog at a later date, but not and I repeat not for the purpose of tracking me down to deliver a well-deserved Chuck Norris-style butt-kicking.

With great esteem,

Aaron Short
121 St. Nicholas Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Rosh Hasha-na-na

From Marty's lips to your ears... L'Shana Tovah! And if you find yourself out of braided challah, kosher chicken, and rams horns, check out my shopping guide to Lee Avenue! Next year in South Williamsburg!

A Short Story is back!

After a relaxing hiatus in the wilderness, A Short Story is back and posting (hopefully) regularly from here on out. Quick Connecticut note. Did you know that there's a Republican candidate from Windham County running for probate judge and his name is... Chuck Norris? Route 32 is blanketed in Chuck Norris for Probate signs. Guess how many I stole?

Chuck Norris of Norwich, CT demonstrates his unique brand of windshield justice.

A set of political links is coming later today, but, first, a new school year beckons. Where better to launch the new academic year than the Harbor School on Governor's Island? I couldn't find a video of the students starting maritime classes on the island, so enjoy this video of a school bus getting hit by a train instead. Happy new year!