Monday, November 30, 2009
Yup, the Broadway Triangle is getting bumped until Wednesday. Sorry demonstrators. The stated is still happening but Dan Garodnick's Land Use subcommittee hearing on the Broadway Triangle and Kingsbridge Armory is happening on Wednesday. Looks like everyone can go home after the presser this morning.
Meanwhile, I still can't put any weight on my left foot. Great. Looks like more time with some ice water.
On second thought, I'd rather stick my foot back in that ice water than listen to this again.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
During the end of a Thanksgiving hiatus, A Short Story writer Aaron Short sprained his ankle playing basketball with friends in the parking lot outside a small, Episcopal church in New England. Unfortunately God was busy doing His work inside the church and was not with Mr. Short as he took the rock to the hole for what should have been an easy lay-up. Details on the condition of the ankle are still emerging and it is unclear whether he will be able to appear in public for tomorrow's highly anticipated Broadway Triangle vote in City Hall.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, The Short List will go on indefinite hiatus as I am fleeing the city for an undisclosed location in the woods of eastern Connecticut. Sorry ULURP fans. I assure you, nothing is going to get rezoned in the next four days except for my stomach which will receive a temporary waiver to support light manufacturing.
In the meantime, for those of hungry for more than turkey and cranberry sauce, I thought I would whet your appetite for blog posts with a little do-it-yourself tips from a professional. Soon you too will be providing linkable content for the whole community to enjoy. All you need to do is follow four easy steps:
Step 1: Think of a catchy headline, preferably with a pun, on a topic we all know and read about often, (e.g. "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn Promises more Atlantic Antics").
Step 2: Include lots of links to important goings on, such as Streetblog's interesting advice column to John Liu and Bill de Blasio, or the fact that the smartest person in Williamsburg doesn't even live in Brooklyn!
Step 3: Be sure to include lots of shotouts to your readers, right Rabbi David Niederman and Heather Roslund!?!?!?
Step 4: Throw in plenty of non-sequitur videos just to confuse the hell out of your readers. Like this one.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Let's take a trip around the web today for reactions leading off with Atlantic Yards Report with not one but two updates, Downtown Eliot Brown at The New York Observer, Charles Bagli at The Times, The Brooklyn Paper, and Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie.
Developer Forest City Ratner still must get arena bonds sold by the end of the month, and they may be hampered by the remaining cloud of litigation and the lowered market for sports facilities, but this was the largest roadblock, and there is no bar to a promised groundbreaking in the next month or so.Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, which organized and funded the lawsuit (and whose spokesman, Daniel Goldstein, was the lead plaintiff), said it would file a new lawsuit because the court ruled only on the record from 2006.
From the Times:
“Once again the courts have made it clear that this project represents a significant public benefit for the people of Brooklyn and the entire city,” Mr. Ratner said. “Our commitment to the entire project is as strong today as when we started six years ago. Today, however, this project is even more important given the need for jobs and economic development.”
“The fight against the Atlantic Yards project is far from over,” said Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a community group that opposes the project. “The community has four outstanding lawsuits against the project and, meanwhile, the arena bond financing clock ticks louder and louder for Ratner. While this is a terrible day for taxpaying homeowners in New York, this is not the end of our fight to keep the government from stealing our homes and businesses.”
Meanwhile the New Jersey Nets are 0-13 though they play the Denver Nuggets tonight so hope is alive. Will the New York Court of Appeals declare the Nets blighted too?
Monday, November 23, 2009
*Veteran crime reporter Tom Tracy, who is working on a story about 65 guns found on Pennsylvania Avenue, Brooklyn, transforms himself to fit inside the mind of a teenage girl in order to understand Twilight.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Now arriving across the platform...the Miss G Train Pageant... Please stand clear of the closing doors...
And you thought we would punt the ball away and burn some clock until Thanksgiving. Nope. It's fourth and two on our own 28 and WE'RE GOING FOR IT because this is The Short List and this is the Miss G Train Pageant.
It was a night to remember at the City Reliquary for the first annual Miss G Train competition. Nearly everyone had their own documentary film crew and Michael Freedman Schnapp's crew was filming the making of the making of the Miss G Train Pageant. Let's break down the numbers: Nineteen semifinalists. Six legitimate talents. Two genders. One oft-maligned transit system. Zero chance of scoring one of those green frosting cupcakes on the judges table. Oh and MFS, there actually is a real Miss Inner Beauty pageant.
The winners! Forgive me, I get carried away in the details. Contestants showed off their vocal, dance, and bartending skills during the talent portion of the competition, but there could be only one winner. Local favorite Chelsea Tapper displayed tremendous Greenpoint spirit, Times Fort Greene blogger Anne Szustek lost and then went promptly back to work, 3rd runner up Marleah Martin displayed an impressive knowledge and verve for improving our transit system, and 2nd runner up Shane Thor had... um... tremendous upside potential... but there could only be one winner. Father John Powis, come on up here and get your plaque!
What a night for Father Powis! First he gets honored by Brooklyn Legal Services at their 41st annual pageant in downtown Brooklyn, and then comes all the way up to Williamsburg to take the Miss G Train crown of thorns. Amazing.
Make the Road's Oona Chatterjee and Andrew Friedman congratulate Father Powis
Actually, no, I'm getting my events confused. If you must know the winners, check out the video below.
Of course it wasn't all just pageantry and legal intrigue. There was a City Council subcommittee hearing on the Broadway Triangle where Al Vann's goatee stole the show, a major cocaine bust in Williamsburg on Thursday where $1 million worth of cocaine was found in a portable sauna, which is more secure but less efficient than kielbasa, anti-semitic stickers in Greenpoint (New York Shitty has a photo diary too), there's another Atlantic Yards lawsuit coming and more questions as the financing deadline looms, WNYC looks at Puerto Rican culture and politics in Bushwick, and sexy shop SHAG is open for your business.
The Short List learned its lesson. Do not lay ten points against Al Vann's goatee in a general election contest. He will destroy you.
As for the weekend, the best bet is the SCORE swap at 3rd Ward from 1 to 7 PM brought to you by the dependably delightful MeanRed Productions and a bike rack construction project on Sunday at the Change You Want To See on Havemeyer Street. And don't forget SmART Brooklyn, the borough-wide gallery hop sponsored by the Borough President's office and Brooklyn Tourism, as well as stopping by Famous Accountants from 4-7 PM on Sunday for their closing show. It's the same time as Pats-Jets, so I'll make it easy for you. Pats 61, Jets 3. See you at Famous Accountants.
Finally, congratulations to The Brooklyn Paper for their 30th Anniversary edition. Hard to believe they've been around for thirty years. Check out Publisher Ed Weintrob's column (and photograph) and Tom Callan's photo gallery for some local flavor (tastes like Bloomberg). Guys, is there an afterparty?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
"Tragedy tomorrow... Triangle tonight!"
It was technical arguments about urban renewal law, zoning procedures, and good ole' fashioned pluckity gumption for the First Act of the Broadway Triangle Rezoning Action Plan, the latest smash hit at City Council. All your favorite stage actors were dressed to impressed, including Marty Needelman, right, whose tie pin wins some kind of fashion honor. Curtain up!
I was excited to see how Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), Chair of the Planning, Dispositions and Compensation Subcommittee (and a top notch salsa dancer!) was going to handle the tempermental crowd that filled the Chambers and the upper deck. I was also curious to see how Steve Levin would handle himself since he wasn't technically a Council member yet, but is one of the most influential voices in the room (he bounced around the Chamber, sitting in several different chairs, shaking hands with everyone he knew).
Anyway, today was about the Department of Housing and Preservation Development's testimony on the Broadway Triangle and questioning proposed by the Council members. Translation: it's a big day for Diana Reyna. Would she score a couple of points and convince her colleagues to oppose the plan (early answer, unlikely)? Or would HPD navigate through a muddled discussion about urban renewal boundaries, site authorization, charettes, and eminent domain procedures. Riveting. I'll link the articles up tomorrow once they start trickling in.
Councilmember David Yassky makes an appearance.
The Chair would like to recognize Al Vann's Goatee, which has just entered the Chamber.
**Correction! The role of Vito Lopez was played by Debbie Feinberg, a staff member for Vito Lopez. Councilmember-elect Steve Levin had his own prepared statement. Unfortunately (and quite rudely) the chair cut him off after his two minutes were up.
I am at City Hall this morning for the smash hit: "Broadway Triangle Rezoning Action" which is taking Manhattan by storm! Starring Diana Reyna! Dan Garodnick! Rob Solano! Luis Garden Acosta! Marty Needelman!
Four Stars! says the Village Voice!
A Subcommittee Hearing to Remember says The Ridgewood Times Newsweekly
I'm getting wet and I want a coffee! says The Greenpoint Gazette
**Please note, the part of Vito Lopez will be played by Councilmember-elect Steve Levin.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
On the evening of Nov. 2, Jimmy Van Bramer made one last trip to an apartment building in Sunnyside that he had canvassed frequently during his Council campaign.
In a matter of hours, polls would open in Van Bramer’s general election face-off against an unknown 24-year-old Republican in a heavily Democratic district.
But taking nothing for granted, Van Bramer went for one last round of door-knocking—and upon seeing Van Bramer, a supporter broke into laughter.
“She said, ‘Dude you are hardcore! 8:30 at night, running against a Republican?’” Van Bramer recalled.
A relentless work ethic helped Van Bramer, 40, win a spirited primary over Queens County-backed Deirdre Feerick. He then coasted to a general election victory.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Lopez Legacy Looms Large
By Aaron Short (Courier Life)
Two weeks after the general election, Assemblymember Vito Lopez (D-Williamsburg) is looking forward to a busy legislative agenda in Albany this winter.
On tap are new affordable housing initiatives, programs to deal with stalled and vacant condominiums, and rent regulations as well as his own emergency food program, which will serve thousands of meals to housebound seniors on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Yet sore feelings remain over Martiza Davila’s defeat in her bid to unseat incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna. Lopez, the Kings County Democratic Party leader, backed Davila in the Democratic primary and again in the general election where she ran as a Working Families Party candidate. He sees the election result not as a repudiation of the Brooklyn Democratic Party but as a testament to Davila’s strength and popularity in North Brooklyn, despite difficult odds.
“Martiza got over 6,000 votes. That’s a remarkable number. Maritza’s turnout was a huge victory,” said Lopez.
Yet she still lost. In the wake of Reyna’s 4,000-vote margin of victory, some leaders in progressive organizations and political clubs throughout the borough are raising questions regarding whether the election has weakened the Brooklyn Democratic Party machine that Lopez runs. Once an ally and esteemed member of Lopez’s staff, Reyna has now become a political rival with two victories against a candidate that Lopez backed forcefully.
“The election shows that Vito is not all-powerful,” said New Kings Democrats President Matt Cowherd, who lives in Lopez’s 53rd Assembly District. “I have equated it to when Toto pulls the curtain back on the wizard. I think Assemblymember Lopez benefits more from reputation and notoriety than reality.”
The refrain from many Reyna supporters over the past week has been that a new political coalition of Williamsburg groups uniting over issues such as the Broadway Triangle rezoning was forged during the primary and general election. Rob Solano, Executive Director of Churches United for Fair Housing, argued that Lopez wanted the Council seat badly and miscalculated by continuing the campaign on the WFP line.
“If the machine didn’t take a hit, if everything is in its place, then why throw everything after Diana, why go after the church, why pull the favors, why run the campaign yourself? This was an embarrassment,” said Solano. “Unless the machine is broken, you don’t get people elected and not know the numbers. If you’re the machine, you don’t take these huge risks.”
Not so fast, say many political observers who credit Reyna’s general election win as illustrative of the challenges that a third-party candidate faces in a district that overwhelmingly votes Democratic.
“When you’re running on a third-party line, and Maritza got almost 6,000 votes on the third-party line, that’s remarkable in and of itself in a heavily democratic district,” said Councilmember-elect Steve Levin.
Former State Senator Martin Connor agreed, saying the race had little to do with Lopez’s political capital and that he retains a strong advantage when seeking reelection to the State Assembly in September 2010.
“I would really seriously doubt that the assemblyman is vulnerable in a democratic primary if he is running,” said Connor. “(Lopez) is very effective campaigner and organizer.”
Political consultant Hank Sheinkopf noted that the Reyna-Davila race revealed more about the strength of the Working Families Party than the Democratic Party, which did not deliver a victory for Davila despite endorsing her.
“It shows that the Working Families Party does not provide an ideological alternative to Democrats,” said Sheinkopf. “Vito Lopez has the ability to in fact create the political, social, and economic connections that people really need and want.”
That is precisely the point argued by sociologist Nicole Marwell, a professor at CUNY who wrote a book, “Bargaining For Brooklyn,” about non-profits and the political machine in Williamsburg. She believes that Reyna’s win is a “story about the power of political parties above and beyond the power of kingmakers,” and that Democrats were reluctant to vote on the Working Families Party line.
“I think the assemblyman’s read of it is that for his organization to pull 40 percent of the vote on a third-party line is a testament to their strength,” said Marwell. “Don’t start digging the machine’s grave. News of its demise will be greatly exaggerated.”
When asked for comment, Reyna said she was focused on upcoming council business and did not want to dwell on the ramifications of her victory.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Mermaids flea their Coney Island homes after the city takes their property
This week was all about zoning. Particularly government takin' private property (and vice versa). For the biggest story of the week, the city's purchase of 7 acres of Coney Island, we go to Nikki Bagli's dad at The Times, Bloomberg, updates from Gersh at The Brooklyn Paper regarding the city's plans, and his follow-up reactions from The Freak in Shoot The Freak. Zoltar had no comment.
The other big story didn't even take place in Brooklyn. It's all about Pfizer leaving New London, CT where they won a controversial precedent-setting case four years ago. Atlantic Yards Report has an exhaustive post, and Brooklyn 11211 linked up as well. Don't be surprised to see a follow-up about Pfizer and the Broadway Triangle (hearings start November 19!) soon.
At the Greenpoint Gazette, don't miss Juliet Linderman's must-read exit interview with David Yassky (where David sort-of opens up just a little bit), an incoming interview with Steve Levin,
the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs opening and BETA Spaces. Solid issue.
As for this weekend, it's fairly quiet with a lot of arts events highlighted by Austin Thomas' artstumble through ISCP on Sunday. It's the quiet before a big turkey-fueled storm. Yassky movin' out, Levin movin in, Reyna movin up... it's a ball of confusion.
I got to Juniors shortly before 8:30 AM just in time to stand in the clogged line waiting to shake Governor David Paterson's hand. Say what you want, but everyone wanted to pose with him for a picture and give them their thirty-second pitch/ job plea/ policy appeal. He's the new Santa Claus.
Meanwhile, in the restaurant's backrooms, there's lots of schmoozing and schnoring. I ran into Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who said he got lost, took a left on the Brooklyn Bridge and ended up here. What was he eating for breakfast? An egg white omelete (he's watching his figure). So was Bob Zuckerman, who chatted with Jo Anne Simon in the runners-up booth.
Lots of special appearances that day besides the Governor. Congressman Ed Towns came by, as did one hundred percent of Jerry Nadler, even though only one quarter of his district is in Brooklyn. He could have just sent an aide or a pair of pants, but no, all of Jerry was there. Right before this photo Jerry was eyeing the cheesecake boxes behind the counter.
Wait for it... wait for it...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
*The biggest opening of the week in Williamsburg isn't a new restaurant, club, or clothing store. It's the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs, which will further cement Williamsburg as the foodie epicenter of Brooklyn (sorry Park Slope, your co-op is too strict anyway).
7 acres and a mule. Except there is no mule. The city is buying out Joseph Sitt of at Coney Island.