Thursday, October 28, 2010

Juniors' Last Breakfast?

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

Wednesday links

It's a mostly quiet week in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, save for CMJ taking over the north side (since when did CMJ become the Northside festival but larger and with more swag?). Let's run through a few links...

*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

Monday links

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

Community Board 1: Joe Vance, Steve Lenard, and no food

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

Community Board 1 preview: Get Pumped Up

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

Tuesday morning links

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

The Short List: Greg Hanlon Turns 30 edition

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.