Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Media Conference Call on Spiderman
This call will provide an update on the status of the safety measures the State Labor Department reviewed this morning at the Foxwoods Theater.
When: TODAY 4:30pm EST, December 22, 2010
Who: New York State Labor Department – Pico Ben-Amotz, Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection
Maureen Cox, Director of Safety and Health
Leo Rosales, Communications Director
Call in number : REDACTED
Conference Code: REDACTED
Monday, December 20, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Mieszko and Tom's plans for the holidays? Dress up like pandas and introduce some cubs into the wild.
It is a toasty 75 degrees inside the Swinging Sixties Senior Center for the last board meeting of the calendar year. An oldies station featuring swing music versions of Christmas songs from the 1940s is playing on the background, which seems both ironic and appropriate. All we need is the Italian Christmas Donkey song and we'll be set.
The crowd is pretty sparse tonight- you can attribute that to the cold and lack of substance of the agenda. But Tom Burrows is here and that means juicy neighborhood gossip. Burrows' building was burglarized over the weekend and there have been a rash of such burglaries around Manhattan Avenue near the BQE this week.
But more interestingly, there's a contestant from a pop-up bakery on Graham Avenue on a reality show who made a cake-version of the Giglio Tower. And sources who got a look at the presentation said that the cake was awful. So awful it deserved to be eliminated but he wasn't cut from the show because he received a bye from the previous week. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Father Joseph Calise is very disappointed.
We're joined tonight by an agent from the FBI who will talk about the government's InfraGard program. The Greenpoint Gazette's Jeff Mann is very excited. Also Will Florentino started work at the Citizens Committee and he's wearing a wool hat that looks like a teddy bear.
"Dude it's the warmest," said Will. "That's the only reason I'm wearing it."
6:37 pm Chairman Chris Olechowski calls the meeting to order and hands the mike to FBI Special Agent Jim Capozzi, who looks strikingly like a thin Andy Garcia and says he's an Italian from Brooklyn and doesn't need the mic.
"This is my 25th year at the FBI so I've been around the block a few times, I've been to Europe, Asia, but none of that you care about...
That's a blatant lie. We care a lot. Let's move on as the agent explains the InfraGard program.
"It's a collaboration on subject matter where citizens and the FBI together collectively collaborate to prevent our city from being subject to a terrorist attack... this has 41,000 nationwide and 1,500 members in New York City"
In other words, this is the federal system of "if you see something say something" but regarding national security. My former colleague Stephen Brown has more.
The Greenpoint Gazette Jeff Mann says he wants to volunteer to protect the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant from imminent threats. Dammnit Jeff! That was my choice!
Esteban Duran takes the opportunity to mention that a neighborhood nonprofit is currently under investigation by the FBI and asks the agent to look into "misappropriated funds" which is pretty delicate choreography, even for Esteban.
Finally, Special Agent Jim Capozzi urges board members and others int he audience to share the information presented today with their friends, work colleagues, bowling league, and whatever else.
Jeff Mann: I can't rat out the bowling league.
Lincoln Restler: We should start a bowling league.
Let's just run a clip from Internal Affairs and forget this whole thing happened.
7:01 pm: Moving on, we have an application for renewing a gas station at 51 Kingsland Avenue. They've been here for 65 or so years and this should be a no-brainer. It's going to ULURP.
7:13 pm: Chairman Chris closes public session with a moment of silence for the anniversary of Pearl Harbor and also mentions that former Congressman Stephen Solarz, who used to represent the neighborhood, died last week. Did I mention that Will Florentino looks like he's wearing a Teddy bear on his head?
Chairman Chris summarizes the Executive Committee meeting:
It's not necessary to read verbatim every single word in the report... at times there are reports that get very lengthy. And we need then at that point to get the information out to everyone here and help them respond to questions. It will help us keep us within the frame of a board meeting that ends at a reasonable time for everyone.
Jeff Mann: Like this one.
7:22 pm: Committee Reports! Uh oh. Land Use leads off.
Heather Roslund: I was on vacation in Miami, it was 80 degrees. I had a great time. I came back this afternoon.
Heather explains the YUCO project that is on the table, with a resolution to deny the application with recommendations to reduce income thresholds and alter the design, which had a committee vote of 9-1-1. The motion carries.
The second item, 143-155 Roebling Street is a reconsideration regarding parking spaces on the site. It is 10-0-1, voted up as in approved. The motion carries.
"I redeem myself," says Heather.
7:30 PM Public Safety. You know what that means. It's Doda time.
"We all need a drink rabbi, especially this time of year," begins Mieszko.
Mieszko reads the list, which includes Desy's Clam Bar, which is applying for a liquor license, as well as Club Rust (new license, full liquor bar) in a converted warehouse on 134 Metropolitan, a tavern at 490 Metropolitan Avenue, and a new polish-sounding restaurant on 191 Manhattan Avenue with a full liquor license. And they're approved.
7:37 pm: Ryan Kuonen gives a summary of her last Environmental Committee meeting.
"Lots of environmental stuff. Not too exciting. Actually very exciting," says Ryan.
National Grid is coming to the next meeting, which will take place about half an hour before the city's massive Kayak Ban meeting on Dec 19. The temporary ban, preventing boat launches from city-owned sites on Newtown Creek, does not prevent kayaking on the East River, just entering the water in Greenpoint.
"The ban is a little ridiculous," says Ryan. "They're saying you can launch from any private spot, they're just stopping the launch of any public spot on Newtown Creek. It's because of Superfund. The city has jumped the gun..."
Now Dewey Thompson is adding his interpretation of the city's decision but Ryan tries to rein in the discussion by pushing people to the meeting on Dec. 16. Nice job Ryan.
7:42 PM: Public session. Unsurprisingly, Joseph Garber is up first.
*Garber- "I have not been invited for several months now to Transportation Committee meetings. I am a member, but somehow I have not been getting invitations."
Garber adds another 12 announcements before getting cut off by the timer and then adds too more announcements.
7:46 PM: New Business!
Tom Burrows talks about the rash of burglaries where people have been climbing up fire escapes on Manhattan Avenue and stealing laptops from unopened windows.
"Each night I went out and saw a patrol car, I asked another one, yes. Another one, yes."
Tom suggests that the new commanding officer at the 94th Precinct come to the meeting to talk about the burglaries.
Rabbi Niederman: Crime does not discriminate here. We had a horrible two weeks. Before that, shooting and swastikas. Two terrible incidents. One man severely beaten, and again last night as well. This has a happy ending. The 90 precinct together with the Shomrim. Two youths involved. For the record we should say, Michael Kemper is doing a wonderful job and kudos to him. But for criminal incidents, South Williamsburg, we should look, what could be done.
And that's it. Chairman Chris wishes everyone a safe holiday and much warmth for the upcoming year.
Monday, December 6, 2010
The Short family settles in for another Thanksgiving holiday fraught with tension
Ok, this blog's Thanksgiving hangover is over and it's time to get down to business. First, there's a board meeting tonight with little the agenda, and we're expecting it to clock in at three-and-a-half hours. Some things to look out for tonight.
How long Heather Roslund's committee report will be.
Whether Karen Nieves' report is shorter than Heather's.
The nominees for the 2010 Brooklyn Facial Hair All Stars.
Whether Chris admonishes people to attend the board meeting.
Who's the first person to praise the NYPD for their big-time hate crime arrest.
Whether there will be any refreshments?
Friday, December 3, 2010
Councilman Steve Levin (D-Greenpoint) turns 30 today. Last year, Levin and friends (or is it Friends of Steve Levin?) reserved Borough Hall for a massive closed-to-the-press birthday blowout-slash-council campaign victory party complete with tasty kosher treats and a cake bigger than Hope Reichbach.
This year? Saturday he's lighting the menorah at Borough Hall with Marty Markowitz. Tonight, it's a quiet evening with a smaller group of family members. And no party. On the record. Off the record? Five words: Bowie. Muppets. Glasslands. Open Bar.
This one's for you Steve...
And that baby grew up to be... Councilman Steve Levin.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
File photo Photo provided by City Pages
At Thursday night's comedy show at The Polonaise, What's So Funny about Greenpoint?, New York-based comedian Todd Barry provided an answer: Juliet Linderman.
A Short Story missed this one last night so we're going to have to rely on other sources, which corroborated that Barry veered off his planned set to make fun of Linderman, who was taking notes and photographs while seated in the front row whenever a comedian mentioned the word "Greenpoint."
For the next 30 minutes, Barry questioned whether the Greenpoint Gazette was "real" and proceeded to place a large order of the paper to his Manhattan apartment.
"He was definitely talking about her for a really long time, but I had a lot to drink so I don't really remember," said one source.
Councilman Steve Levin was there also, but declined to comment.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Former board member Teresa Toro congratulates Land Use Chairwoman Heather Roslund on her historic achievement.
By the end, it was a meeting where very little occurred beyond three small land use items that were denied and a cohort of liquor licenses that were mostly approved.
And yet, sometimes under ordinary circumstances does something extraordinary occur-- a 69-minute committee report by Heather Roslund that absolutely shattered previous records for the longest committee report in community board history.
I've checked with a few experts and while many remember board meetings that lasted longer no one can remember a committee meetings that went on for more than an hour.
"I've never seen anything like that," one stunned community liaison told me after the meeting.
Heather's report inspired not one but two Facebook threads written by board members during the meeting. Let's republish them:
@The Monthly Meeting of Community Board #1 in Brooklyn; gettin' Civic, Facebook! 20 hours ago via Mobile Web
Ward Dennis Look civic!
20 hours ago
Wilfredo Florentino We'd love to see you @Yoselis! You are missed!
20 hours ago
Ward Dennis Keeping the agenda moving...
20 hours ago
Wilfredo Florentino Ward & I are getting Civic; Woohoo!
19 hours ago
Tom Burrows How long is this going to last?
19 hours ago
Wilfredo Florentino Tom, we will be here till at least 10pm, no 'Dancing With The Stars' tonight!
18 hours ago
Teresa Toro Suckers...
17 hours ago
Wilfredo Florentino :-P Teresa, you are missed as well!
17 hours ago
Ward Dennis Yeah, Debbie Masters was there - we coulda had a reunion if you and Yoselis had made it.
17 hours ago
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
6:20 PM: They're cranking up the heat inside the Swinging Sixties Senior for tonight's riveting November meeting. So far, it doesn't look like there's going to be much of a crowd tonight. We've got a few liquor licenses, a visit from an FBI agent on infrastructure safety and an unmarked HPD presentation or two.
Holy shit! It's mid-level professional HPD legend Jack Hammer! First ballot member of the Brooklyn Great Names Hall of Fame and nine-time Facial Hair All Star! He's sporting a full, well-trimmed mustache and Miezsko is jealous. This meeting just moved up a notch.
We have double action in the bullpen in Press Row with NAG favorite Allison Davis and OSA favorite Julia Morrow joining the table.
Where are the NAG photos from Saturday?, asks Allison.
I've been incredibly busy, I say.
Doing what? asks Allison.
6:29 PM Gerry Esposito takes the roll call and Chairman Chris notes that Board Member Paul Pullo III just had a baby, Paul Pullo IV. Well his wife had a baby.
Keep the lineage going!
Greenpoint Gazette publisher Jeff Mann adds, he is already driving a MetroFuel truck.
6:39 PM: Three announcement from public official flacks not named Rami Metal. It appears Marty Markowitz will host a Williamsburg Town Hall where you can meet him, and Dan (D-Squad) Squadron's office wants to let you know that flu shots are available at Long Island College Hospital. It's the D-Squad's birthday tonight. Consequently he's nowhere the hell near here.
Looks like we're not the only ones commenting that the meeting was slow. Ward just tweeted from his blog that Relish just got its liquor license approved.
6:41 PM: Chairman Chris announces that the FBI agent who was supposed to come to tonight's meeting did not show up and the presentation was canceled. Perhaps something else came up.
6:41 PM: Two HPD rank and files announce the relocation of its 27 Hooper Street branch to 210 Joralemon Street with other divisions. This must be why Jack is here tonight. Let's go to the staffer:
"The building cost a lot of money to maintain. Especially in the current budget situation, we had to cut back. 27 Hooper is not an easy location to get to and 210 Joralemon is better than many locations. We thought it was win-win-win all around and we were under pressure to save some money."
Thanks HPD dude. Next time my apartment's boiler explodes, I'll know where to go.
Actually, Jack wants to say something about the sale of the building.
"There's nothing currently on the table."
6:56 PM: We have a sidewalk cafe application at Nassau and Guernsey. Did you know you can get cheap flights from Nassau to Guernsey for 757 pounds? Also, NAG Co-Chair Emily Gallagher joins Press Row, fresh from raising $36,000(?) at the NAG gala on Saturday night. Jesus, that's two years at SUNY Albany!
6:58 PM: Jack is back! Chairman Chris reads the next item regarding Yuco Management Inc's proposal to build 59-low income units in four small buildings in the district and it's the Brooklyn planning office of HPD for a presentation. HPD will be extending a 50 percent preference to CB1 residents who have moved out of the district since 2004.
We go to principal Raymond Yu and his Yuco team for his project:
This is the full presentation of an initial presentation mentioned more than a year and a half ago. They're already managing a project on Hope Street and Havemeyer Street.
The breakdown is: 37 Ten Eyck has 7 units, 33 Ten Eyck 18 units, Maujer St 14 units and Bedford Avenue, the largest has 20 apartments.
Heather Roslund has a question about the ULURP process for the buildings and Jack Hammer stands up. He's ready to go... no! He sits back down again. False alarm, everyone.
Ward Dennis asks why the initial number was reduced from 64 to 59 and.. surprise... it's due to its budget.
The project is supposed to go before Land Use on the 22nd but that meeting is tentative.
Jack Hammer has left the building everyone. Jack Hammer has left the building. Greenpoint Gazette's Jeff Mann is sad. Don't worry Jeff, we still have David Rivel.
7:11 PM: The City Parks Foundation's David Rivel is on the dais presenting what his group may do with Greenpoint's $7 million windfall awarded in a settlement the city made with the state for violating pollution laws.
There's been a lot reported about this so far and you can read about it here. What we want to know is where do we vote for these 26 whittled down projects.
"Ultimately the final decision for which projects happen is with the state. City Parks Foundation will not be making a decision," says David.
7:18 PM: It's the team of Jackie Brookner and Deborah Masters about their Green Eggs and Wetlands project, one of 26 projects being considered by the state for the pollution funding.
Deborah: Our Park is going to be devoted toward cleaning stormwater. When there's a big event of rain, there's an overflow of sewage into the city's waterways. We're going to use stormwater to do another thing- to power the growth of plants in our park and our plants will clean the storm water."
But what happens when the eggs hatch and give birth to... Swamp Thing?
There goes the neighborhood. Thanks Deborah Masters.
7:31 PM: Public agenda closes and Chairman Chris acknowledges the newly elected District Leader, Lincoln Restler. A smattering of applause. Wait a second, where did he get that baby?
7:34 PM: Chairman Chris gives his report thanking board members for their excellent attendance. But Chairman Chris is also very upset at board members who talk to the press about items that don't have anything to do with board issues.
District Manager Gerry Esposito notes the submission of next year's proposed meeting calendar. Also, no outside food. Thank you for your consideration. The calendar is approved.
7:41 PM: Committee reports! Heather Roslund starts us off with a list of recommendations for Vision 2020.
Unsurprisingly, the first recommendation is creating more open space on and public access for the waterfront, particularly the public walkway component.
I should note that Simon Weiser just greeted a Joel Shucher noted Orthodox real estate lobbyist with a sick handshake. Manny Ramirez would be proud.
Heather calls the Greenway on Kent Avenue a "quasi fiasco" and that it is being overused. And she's going to read every single recommendation, plus bullet points and sub bullet points.
Jeff Mann: "Who wrote Heather's report today? Karen Nieves?"
And it goes on like this... for 32 minutes.
I text Rami Metal noting that it feels like we've been held hostage and Rami said he will be contacting a negotiator.
8:13 PM: Ward Dennis harps about keeping the Greenway "on the waterfront everywhere."
Emily Gallagher helpfully whispers, "Stella!"
Wrong movie Emily.
"I coulda been a contender!" says Emily.
There you go.
8:15 PM: Heather continues her report... really. She's clocking in at 34 minutes so far and this might be a new Community Board 1 record for the longest committee report in the history of community boards. Can we get an official from the mayor's office on the phone?
Heather picks up the pace with the Wythe Avenue rezoning application, which received a 3-2 disapproval last week with recommendations and explains in exacting detail the application.
I've checked with a few senior members and professionals and it appears that this is in fact the longest committee report in community board history. We're witnessing history tonight folks. It's not every day you can say that. Congratulations Heather!
8:31 PM Chairman Chris cuts the report off after a whopping 50 minutes but first chides board members for not showing up to vote at committe meetings.
"There are 15 members on this committee. People were knocking down my door to get on this committee and only six people showed up to vote? Where is everybody? We were looking for people to participate in these committees. You have important votes coming up. These votes were important!" says Chairman Chris.
"I was removed from the committee!" shouts Esteban Duran, fleetingly.
But Heather takes the reins again and answers a few questions and more people begin to leave. We've lost half our crowd. Does the Q and A still count as part of her record? Judges? It does! The clock is still ticking!
8:41 PM: Chairman Chris moves for a vote of the rezoning, the Wythe Avenue one, and the motion to approve the Land Use Committee's recommendation passes 15 in favor, 4 against and 4 abstentions. OSA Joe Vance is pissed. I'm not sure board members knew exactly what they were voting for.
There's one final item for a vote, and that's the Roebling Street project which is trying to add about 90 parking spaces to their building, which requires a zoning change.
8:50 PM: After 1 hour and 9 minutes
Heather: Thank God, I'm done talking." Applause
Mieszko Kalita takes the mic promising a change in speed. Liquor license renewals. Approved. Done. Liquor licenses new. Motion to approve? In favor? Approved. Carried.
Not approved, 256 Grand Street renewal for the Trash Bar, because of noise complaints. The motion carries. Trash Bar has some problems.
Mieszko pops through the last two items in ice like a blizzard/ When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard/ Sippin sizzurp in my ride, like Three Six/ Now I’m feelin so fly like a...
8:55 PM Rami Metal introduces a letter from Councilman Stephen Levin noting his concern over the proposed homeless shelter on McGuinness Boulevard and he begins passing around the letter to the remaining board members and stragglers.
8:57 PM Feeling the pressure from board members, Transportation Chairwoman Karen Nieves takes the mic and delivers a blisteringly fast report about the Greenway planning session, the canceled B39 Bus, a request for bike racks, and a joint committee request with public safety about bike rules, particularly educating cyclists that they shouldn't ride through red lights, the wrong way and on the wrong side of the road. Five minutes Karen. Not bad at all. That's Community Board-MVP material.
9:02 PM: Ryan Kuonen mentions how basically no one showed up to her environmental meeting.
9:04 PM: Esteban Duran gives his education committee meeting, addressing decreasing enrollments and vacancies, summer youth employment programs, and Town Square Inc's Schoolfest last month. Also, Joel Klein stepped down today. So there's that.
Several Hasidic members have left already. Why? Because Rabbi David Niederman's granddaughter is getting married tonight. So that's where Rob Solano is.
9:13 PM: Finally. Public Session.
*Joseph Garber protests the two minute rule and rambles on for a full three minutes.
*Jackie Medina, volunteer director for Parks and OSA, formerly in
*Rami visits Press Row and notes that Deputy Inspector Dennis Fulton has left the 94th Precinct like Jack Hammer left this meeting three hours ago.
*A rep from the Brooklyn Smoke Free partnership noting that Camel Company is marketing its own cigarette just for Williamsburg youth. Wow. That's the most interesting thing I heard all night.
*Cassandra Smith from GMDC presents the boathouse plan with GWAP. Read about it here.
It's finally over. Jack Hammer is tonight's Community Board 1 MVP. Karen Nieves was Runner-up. Heather Roslund placed 3,945th.
Wake up, it's time for another community board 1 meeting. What's on the agenda tonight? Rezoning a strip of Wythe Avenue. What should be on the agenda tonight?
How about the War on Loosies?
Or Public Safety concerns regarding police accidentally getting locked up in hipsters' front yards?
Or another luxury hotel moving to the northside?
Or the neighborhood's apparent love affair with vinyl siding?
Or said vinyl siding building's potentially dangerous existence to pedestrians?
Tonight won't be a total snoozefest. Did we mention that the FBI is coming to talk about protecting the nation's infrastructure? Perhaps they'll send this guy.
Monday, November 8, 2010
A Short Story wants to hit the week running with five links to check out this week. Try to catch your breathe.
*There were some murmurs about Two Trees' development of a luxury hotel down the street from Graves Hospitality-- and tomorrow we could learn whether the Walentases (Walentasises? Walentasses? What's plural for the Dumbo developers? Somebody help me out here) secure $15 million in bond money from the city. Exciting times. Also receiving top billing, Tony Argento is applying for $13.5 million for his Broadway Stages project on Kingsland Avenue.
*Speaking of hotels, there's a new Orthodox-friendly hotel coming to South Williamsburg (actually two hotels) for all your kosher needs. Except cable television. C'mon Jewcy, can't you put together a Hasidic-friendly porn channel for these guys? It's a niche market!
*Let's do a two-fer for political stories- Reid Pillifant has a story on Chuck Schumer and the DSCC and Nick Rizzo has a new story about the Green Party.
*If it's early November, it must be time for another arts festival in Bushwick. Enter Beta Spaces.
*Finally, Bishop Loughlin prep star JayVaughn Pinkston is in some trouble with police in Pennsylvania, which may delay his awaited debut with the Villanova Wildcats. Should have gone to UConn, JayVaughn.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
But first, wondering what Steve Witt is up to? He's interviewing street performers at Grand Central Station and Union Square.
Norris defeated Democratic challenger Kathryn Guinan to become the first Republican in the office in 26 years. The Norwich Bulliten has a completely unironic roundup of the race here.
Meanwhile, a much cruddier paper, the New London Day, has a story about people (ahem) stealing Norris' campaign signs, with no mention of this blog.
I am reaching out to Mr. Norris for an interview about his victory and plans to distribute his unique brand of justice in the future. As Connecticut Law Blog puts it, "Someone ran against Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris won."
Or as Google puts it: "Google won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you."
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
As voters fill out ballots like angsty, pimple-faced teenagers completing the SATs, A Short Story wants to take a moment to offer its first (and last ever) endorsement for a candidate on the ballot today.
His name is Chuck Norris and he's running for Probate Judge in Norwich, Connecticut.
Norris has been receiving an emphatic letter-writing campaign of supporters including Raymond Dussault, chairman of the Norwich Republican Town Committee who writes "Norris will bring discipline, experience and compassion to the court," and Albert Trombley, also of Norwich, who argues, "based on the combination of Chuck’s legal experience and compassion for others," Norwich residents should cast their vote for Norris.
And then there's Trish Sullivan of Voluntown, who writes, "Some lawyers spend their entire careers involved in just one area of the law. They’re never exposed to — or learn how to handle — cases other than the limited matters that they have chosen to study. Other lawyers, such as Chuck Norris, have spent their careers studying and learning all areas of the law in order to represent their clients at each and every stage of their lives."
All areas of the law people. And when reason fails, he will roundhouse kick the defendant through the windshield of his car.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Bear with me, I have a lot of photos to upload for the weekend's events-- but in the meantime, here are five election-related stories that will bleed into Tuesday:
*Could a sitting comptroller (above in a soon-to-be-bromantic scene with Beep Markowitz) actually lose? Do New Yorkers even know what a comptroller is or who is running? Neither does Charlie Rangel.
*The Times predicts the State Senate will flip back to the Republicans and points to the Aqueduct scandal as a contributing factor.
*And in gubernatorial news-- Reid Pillifant from the Observer wonders if a new saner Carl would have had a better shot of beating Andrew Cuomo if he acted this way from the beginning.
*You've probably picked up an L magazine already and flipped through its 50 best blocks in Brooklyn. They left out Best Block containing a political clubhouse that is supposed to be a center providing respite services for seniors (Wyckoff Avenue bet. Grove and Menahan Streets).
*With few competitive races in the state except counties above Westchester (and maybe that pesky Bay Ridge congressional race), New Yorkers went to Washington this weekend for the sanity rally. The WG News and Arts was there and took pictures.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
No! Former state committeeman Steve Cohn (with son Warren Cohn) has vowed to continue the most important breakfast in Brooklyn in perpetuity! Cohn elaborates below:
"It's definitely not. It's a great networking breakfast and yes we plan to do a Seneca Dinner as always. It should be a really successful. We hope to continue to hand out cheesecakes to the people."
Word is Governor Paterson, Comptroller DiNapoli and others will be making special appearances. Possibly future governor Andrew Cuomo has been invited, but with four days to go before a statewide election, don't count on seeing him there unless it's a last minute thing. He already visited downtown Brooklyn yesterday.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
*Shea Stadium gets the Times spotlight.
*New York Press' Jessica Mahler wonders whether the latest city vacate order at 573 Metropolitan is a chink in 3rd Ward's burgeoning empire.
*CNN comes to Newtown Creek and shows us how to make an incredibly complicated story into a condensed file report.
*Stephen Brown has Marty Markowitz's reaction to the Prospect Park West bike lane (he doesn't like it).
*Reid Pillifant of the New York Observer looks at Joe Girardi's crumbling Yankees.
*Alex Pareene and Nick Rizzo buzz through an espresso-fueled running diary of the gubernatorial debate at Capital New York.
*The Downtown Star's Daniel Bush heads to Brighton Beach for reaction to a new Ruskie reality show. Dan, where did you get lunch down there?
*New York Shitty says that residents near the House of Vans were complaining about the noise and the aftermath of its massive blowout opening party on Saturday night.
*Councilwoman Diana Reyna's office wants Bushwick Avenue to be landmarked. So does Adam Schwartz, and BushwickBK took a tour with him.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Photo by Leanie Beans
Carl Paladino prepares for tonight's debate with Andrew Cuomo and five other people.
The Governor debate and all its encompassing weirdness takes the day on a slow Monday. Let's get right to the links.
Jimmy Vielkind splashes into Capital New York with a piece about new Democratic unity in New York State.
HuffingtonPost looks at the other guys.
New York Magazine gives you a guide...
and... good Lord, everyone is writing about this. Let's get back to the local sh*t.
The Greenpoint Gazette's Juliet Linderman takes a closer look at Judge Emily Goodman's Broadway Triangle ruling and the city's expiring contracts. This sounds like an NBA trade: The New York Knicks trade David Lee to the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council for Scott Short and $2.4 million in expiring contracts. Hope you've been practicing your free throws, Scott.
Attorney general candidate Dan Donovan visited Hasidic leaders in South Williamsburg Sunday and did not get captured in an awkward photo shoot with a political colleague or utter an anti-gay slur, but his team did prematurely trumpet an endorsement. I guess that's progress.
And I missed both the pickle festival, the bacon takedown, and some kind of all-you-can-eat late-night taco implosion. I need salt. Does anyone have some salt?
Thursday, October 14, 2010
It’s 6 pm and the doors to 211 Ainslie are locked, before Marie lets everyone in.
Karen Nieves is nursing her fifth coffee of the day and we have a few stragglers including eight “ambassadors” from national public radio here to talk to community members about a new program designed to connect Williamsburg residents with WNYC, because, why reinvent the wheel?
WNYC’s Azi Paybarah couldn’t be here tonight so he sent his secret army instead.
Losing District Leader candidate and current Greenpoint blonde planners mafia charter member Kate Zidar is here too to talk about her Green Eggs Wetland Project which is appealing to funding for a wetlands project which may be eligible for funding from a pool of money administered by City Parks Foundation. She's working very hard to make a publishable photograph. Maybe next time?
The Chairman Emeritus makes an appearance but it sounds like he has to get going pretty quickly
Unfortunately, sad news to report. We will not be seeing the lovely Julia Morrow tonight because the Open Space Alliance has brilliantly scheduled its community meeting at the same exact time as the board meeting. In her place, we are joined by Caitlin Dourmashkin of the Northside Merchants Association (note: not EWVIDCO) who “hasn’t attended one of these things in years,” and... look at that… Debbie Feinberg, legislative liaison for Assemblyman Vito Lopez, subject of a brief piece on PolitickerNY. Let's see if she has a comment.
6:34 PM: Chairman Chris Olechowski calls the meeting to order, District Manager Gerry Esposito takes the roll and we move onto item one— a sidewalk application. It passes easily.
6:38 PM: Open Space Alliance board member Joe Vance begins to stir as Chairman Chris reads the description of the applicant’s zoning application. This project, a vacant lot on Wythe Avenue that hosted the Rock Yard parties, is asking for a zoning change from heavy manufacturing to R-6 residential use. The property’s owner, Bruce Terzano, talks about his history in the neighborhood before passing the mic to Joe:
“He wants this to be a neighborhood project. We’re used to hearing from lawyers on this project but he came to me instead."
Joe describes the project as a six-story building with commercial on the ground floor and parking below, and a big backyard.
“By and large most of the development we’ve seen is geared toward young people. Bruce believes that eventually these people will have families and will want more space. He believes this project will be family-oriented."
CB1 member Jose Leon has a question about where the affordable housing will be, just as CPCR’s Susan Pollock and Barbara Baer arrive. Joe explains that the two buildings will be separate and that the nonprofit developer will eventually own the below-market-rate building.
We have more questions about what exist there now and whether commercial tenants will have to move out, and Joe covers a number of details including square footage, FAR and the number of units in the project (59 market rate and 18 below-market).
6:57 PM: Chairman Chris moves to the third item, a special permit for a building on the corner of Roebling, Metropolitan and Hope Street for on-lot parking spaces and 90 apartment units. We have a presentation from Patrick Jones, the applicant.
Jones explains that the owner of the 103-year-old building is applying for a certificate of occupancy to bring the old mixed-use industrial building into legal occupancy. The building, zoned for manufacturing use, has been occupied with residencies since the 1980s and has commercial on the first floor.
Ward asks a question about whether the request would retain retail use on the first floor and apparently it would.
Heather asks about the one-story building with the Roebling Tea House will be affected- and it will not be.
A community member who owns a building with commercial nearby speaks against the building's application for parking- mostly because it kicked out other tenants in the building.
This item is going back to Land Use on Oct. 27, so we'll have more then.
7:08 PM: Chairman Chris and Rabbi Webber react to yet another miner being rescued from a mine shaft by the Chilean government.
7:09 PM: It's Steve Lenard time! City Planning analyst Steve Lenard will attempt to synthesize a 600-page document on zoning text amendments in a 10-minute presentation. If there's anyone who can do it, it's Steve, a nominee for the 2010 Facial Hair All-Stars.
We pick up mid-stream:
"Another clarification is about vesting. This is a situation in which we are changing the zoning to make it change the same way it is today because we don't want to create any negative impacts from this proposal. Under the vesting rules, if the zoning changes, and you are in construction, you have to complete the foundation before vesting.
In order to prevent a situation where half a lot is built on some rules and another is built on different rules- but for the purposes of vesting, it's considered one rule."
I'm so turned on right now. Does anyone want to launch a Steve Lenard planning fan club? Nate Silver can't get all the glory. C'mon Greenpoint blonde planners mafia, make this happen.
7:30 PM: Chairman Chris asks Steve to "please summarize" which draws a few laughs, before Steve notes that this is "only a small portion of the entire report."
A property owner is somehow allowed to talk about his specific situation for nearly five minutes before Heather Roslund cuts him off and summarizes his point. Thankfully we move on.
"Thank you very much Steve, for that intricate presentation," says Chairman Chris
7:39 PM: Chairman Chris asks Maria Batista from Diana Reyna's office to introduce herself and she announces a citizenship drive, and Chairman Chris introduces Liza Garcia as a new liaison to the community board. Debbie remains seated.
7:41 PM: Chairman Chris gives the mic to Rami Metal, who announces a new bill introduced by Councilman Steve Levin to suspend alternate side parking in areas surrounding film shoots, which receives some applause. There's an article in the Observer about it.
Sam Pierre also introduces himself as the nwe Brooklyn director of community affairs
"Carolyn Saunders-James retired and I definitely took her place. A lot of people told me that I have big shoes to fill but I have size 11 shoes."
7:49 PM: Chairman Chris closes the meeting and Gerry reads the second roll. We've got a quorum and there's a motion to approve the minutes. We're onto reports. I'll summarize.
Chairman Chris exhorts members to take committee meetings seriously by actually attending them from time to time.
District manager's report... as written.
Esteban makes a motion regarding a letter about a Throop Street building, inviting the commissioner to come out for a project. The motion carries. I haven't heard about this issue yet. Will follow-up.
8:00 PM: Committee reports! Land Use kicks off and I'll summarize, but first, hey Ward Dennis. How's life in the cheap seats?
Heather Roslund explains the Northside Town Hall zoning request, which was approved 2-0-0. A watershed moment for the town hall project.
Heather also notes the comprehensive watershed plan meeting she attended in Borough Hall... and this goes on for a while as press row starts looking toward the ceiling for the Chilean rescue capsule to get us out of this meeting.
"Hey, does this thing go to Teddy's Restaurant?"
8:20 PM Public Safety! This committee deserves its own theme music.
Tom Burrows takes the mic, as Mieszko was in Las Vegas doubling down the board's expenditures. The liquor license renewals pass easily. Tom moves onto sidewalk applications before touching on liquor license new applicants. The new licenses pass.
Onto renewals, which include Pumps and The Production Lounge. Tom notes no complaints and a recommended approval, except for The Charleston, Spuyten Duyvil, Greg's Tavern and The Production Lounge, which are disapprovals. The board seconds it.
Also, Tom notes that Cono's closed so it's not up for renewal.
Now Mieszko is up with the second and "more important" part of the meeting. This calls for another Doda video.
Mieszko notes there is a 200 bed men's shelter proposed for McGuinness Boulevard, one block from the Greenpoint Hotel and proceeds to recap the meeting:
"More likely they were trying to defend themselves from an angry mob, and rightly so. As you can see we have no communication with Help USA. They are very bad at public relations. Clearly F. Clearly F. They are not talking to us. They have said it is way to early, but they have bought the building. It's not just for fun. The next day after the meeting, I received a petition with 700 signatures opposing the shelter...
Therefore I would like the board to send a letter to Department of Homeless Services saying we are clearly in opposition to building a homeless shelter at McGuinness Boulevard."
There's some bickering on the letter, as Ryan Kuonen raises the issue that Greenpoint has its own homeless problem that is badly underserved. Fortunately, Marie notes that Help USA plans to be servicing homeless men at the shelter site, and I once again remind our community leaders about proper grammar. The letter passes unanimously.
8:49 PM: Public session! We're almost done. There's just one item.
*Debra Masters and Kate Zidar note the new Superfund designation and their stormwater project, wetlands with structures 25 feet high meant to mimic the design of the Newtown Creek digester eggs, which will clean stormwater toxins that would go into Newtown Creek. And it will also be a park. And I'm on a horse.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Photo by Julie Linderman
CB1 Public Safety Chair Mieszko is back from Las Vegas, leaving a swarthy path of destruction, debts, and broken promises. In his absence, Big Tom proved remarkably effective, vetting through a list of nearly 50 liquor license applications and renewals that stretched to 10:30 pm. Two of them are worth paying attention to:
The Production Lounge, Miss Heather's favorite Greenpoint Bar, is up for renewal. It had a difficult year in 2009, following the Valentines Day almost-massacre, but its renewal passed quietly.
So did Pumps Bar, which bills itself as Brooklyn's favorite strip club. Did you know that Pumps has its own myspace page? And a happy hour from 3 to 6 pm every day? Of course you do. You're reading my blog. Is it too late for Lincoln Restler to change his victory party location?
Thanks Miss Heather! And yes, Consumer Affairs may have spotted a violation or two.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We're in it now. And by it, I mean the Newtown Creek Sewage Plant!
I know the posts have come infrequently these past few weeks. I'm going to try to address that going forward with some shorter bursts of links and commentary. This is one of them. Let's take a look at five stories I've written over the past week and five stories from other reporters that merit a second look.
*Could the Broadway Triangle lawsuit be delayed indefinitely? It's the closest thing to an injunction, if Judge Goodman rules to halt proceedings this week.
*143 Himrod Street and Hope Gardens are getting more attention as poll workers note election improprieties and odd behavior on primary day.
*Ted Hamm and Williams Cole celebrate the release of the Brooklyn Rail's nonfiction anthology. They had two parties in Williamsburg this weekend, but the L-train was out, so I missed them. Fortunately, there's more to come including another reading in Fort Greene.
*Congratulations to the John Cougar Mellencamps, your 2010 Brooklyn Kickball champions!
*Finally, looking for an old-school red sauce joint now that Vito Lopez's favorite restaurant, Cono's has closed? Try these recommendations.
And let's take a look at five other major stories pertaining Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint:
*Reid Pillifant has done some fine work tracking the governor's race for the Observer. Perhaps you should be reading it.
*WNYC's Azi Paybarah, who broke Carl Paladino's anti-gay speech in Williamsburg on Sunday via twitter, has an informative Q and A with Capital New York's Josh Benson. Does anyone else get the sense that Paladino resembles every strict high school principal in a John Hughes movie?
*Jeff Mann, publisher of the Greenpoint Gazette, reports Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel's retirement party.
*Katharine Jose, who wrote about the Onderdonk House in June, the 1709 Dutch farmhouse that was inexplicably not in Open House New York weekend, tackled the Ridgewood Reservoir too for Capital New York.
*And Greg Hanlon has also done some fine work for Capital New York on the New York Giants' defensive line, which looks a lot better after this weekend. We hear another article is coming.
Friday, October 8, 2010
For his 30th birthday, Greg went and got a watsu massage. Then he got sauced. And by sauce, I mean, he went to White Castle with his girlfriend and put all its sauces on a double cheeseburger and ate it. He's still recovering. Happy 30th Greg. It's all downhill from here.
As for the weekend, it's Open House New York weekend, which means that everything from Grant's Tomb to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will be open for the public to poke around in. The sewage plant, whose motto is "All Your Waste Belong to Us" and has been referred to as the sh#t t#ts (Thank you Miss Heather for coining that one) is becoming an October tradition for Greenpoint. I've been on the tour before. The highlight is watching people look through the peep hole where you can see everything getting processed.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
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.
"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!